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Blue Monday is more than once a year

Blue Monday started as a media campaign funded by travel agents and has passed into popular culture as, supposedly, the most depressing day of the year. Based on weather conditions, the year’s first credit card bill, and new year’s resolutions going astray, the third Monday of January is still to some a pseudoscientific marketing tool to pitch happiness remedies.

Regardless, it brings attention to the fact that one in five people worldwide are suffering from mental health challenges on a daily basis. Statistics from the World Health Organization also reveal that almost a quarter of adults are not physically active enough to prevent illness. One in three employees are distracted by finances at work, and a further eight in 10 are disengaged from their jobs.

The grim reality is that a majority any workforce is suffering from one or more wellness issues at any one time and responsibility for providing support for mental health tends to fall national health services in countries like the UK and Canada, and individuals in the US.

But employers worldwide have a duty of care to support the total well-being of their people and this means providing access to tools that enable employees to proactively maintain their mental, physical, social and financial wellness.

Yet current services for mental health are still largely treatment-focused, which means it is only those who are aware and willing to ask for help that are receiving support.

Research from Mind has found that work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people (34%) saying their work life was either very or quite stressful – a clear indication that some responsibility for the mental health of the workforce sits with the employer.

Businesses can adopt solutions which can help support and ultimately prevent employees from developing mental health problems, and thankfully, we have seen seismic shifts in attitudes towards mental health and how it is perceived in the workplace. The next step is for organizations to take responsibility for their employees’ total well-being by providing a comprehensive wellness program, which will support people as they navigate through the daily stresses they encounter.

In the UK about 70 percent of calls to the LifeWorks EAP counselling service are related to mental health issues. Having this confidential service available through a mobile app at work takes away some of the barriers such as going to the Doctors and has helped those who may not have ever reached out for support otherwise. We’ve evolved our understanding and perception of mental health over the years, that much is certain. Now is the time to evolve the support system to meet demand.

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