Work, besides having a central role in society, is also an important social construct. Satisfactory work activity is known to be beneficial to mental health, with unemployment being a risk factor for mental problems, while obtaining a job has protective effects. However, a negative work environment can cause both physical and psychological problems.
Regarding mental health, there are several influential factors in the work environment. In most cases, it is an inappropriate interaction between the type of work, the organizational and managerial environment, the skills and competencies of the staff, and the facilities offered to them to carry out their work. Bullying and intimidation at work are also frequent problems that can have considerable negative effects on mental health.
Some jobs, such as those carried out by humanitarian staff and first responders, also carry a higher risk, these risks being higher in situations where the team is not cohesive or social support is not available.
In the last few weeks, we have been experiencing the emotional impact that COVID-19 is having on health personnel who are facing the pandemic from the health system.
This, in addition to being a problem for people’s mental health, also has consequences for companies, which manifest in productivity losses and high staff turnover.
Studies have shown that depression and anxiety have quite significant economic repercussions, with an annual estimated cost of $ 1 trillion to the world economy in lost productivity.
The promotion of mental health in the workplace and the integration and support of those suffering from psychiatric disorders make it more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity, and obtain economic benefits that these effects entail.
In a healthy workplace, workers and managers actively contribute to improving the work environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all employees, providing resources to address mental health problems regardless of their cause.
For this reason, the development of programs that evaluate work environments and contribute to early detection and improvement of employees’ mental health is of the utmost importance.
The European Platform to Promote Wellbeing and Health in the Workplace (EMPOWER) brings together all these issues and we hope it will be able to develop an eHealth platform that can have a contribute to reduce the negative impact of mental health problems in the workplace.