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Mental health concept, hr

Why today shouldn’t be just another day at the office



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Every year on April 7, the World Health Organisation (WHO) organises World Health Day in celebration of its founding. While it may seem hard to get excited about yet another “world-something-day”, this year, simply acknowledging World Health Day as a company could leave you with a healthier, more productive workforce.

This year the focus lies with depression. With its “Depression: let’s talk” campaign, the WHO aims to get more people to both seek and get help. Worldwide, over 300 million people are living with depression. In South-East Asia alone, it affects nearly 86 million people. Between 2005 and 2015 the global number increased by over 18%. Given those numbers, chances are that someone on your team is suffering in silence, or knows someone who is.

Some of the biggest barriers to addressing the issue of depression are prejudice and discrimination. “The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign Depression: let’s talk,” said Dr Shekhar Saxena, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, in a press release. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

As an employer, you can help facilitate the conversation. By celebrating World Health Day with employees, companies can help take the first step toward eliminating stigma and ensuring people access the support and treatment they need.

So maybe send your staff an email, include a paragraph in the monthly newsletter, or show your support for World Health Day on LinkedIn. Simply start the conversation.

As for the next step, create awareness among your people managers and consider offering training on how to manage a team member with depression. And for more information on World Health Day and this year’s campaign, visit the WHO website.

ALSO READ: Workplace-related depression cases on the rise in Malaysia

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