Addressing mental health from a global and local perspective

A new guide from Business Group on Health aims to help develop and implement mental health programmes for employees and their families.
By: | May 13, 2020

For many organisations, mental health is a critical issue because of its impact on employee health, well-being, productivity and business performance.

In 2017, an estimated 10% of the global population experienced a mental health disorder, with the estimated cost of depression and anxiety to the global economy amounting to US$1 trillion.

Yet, addressing mental health issues locally remains of the most difficult challenges for global organisations, said Kathleen O’Driscoll, vice-president, Business Group on Health. “It is often difficult for the corporate office to understand the nuances that take place at the local level.

“These nuances are particularly important for mental health, where misunderstandings and fears are abundant.”

Business Group on Health is a non-profit organisation devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspective on health policy issues and optimising workforce strategy through innovative health, benefits and well-being solutions.

The group recently released its Addressing Mental Health from a Global and Local Perspective guide, which provides several examples of tools and ideas that multinational employees are implementing in countries around the world.

O’Driscoll added, “One of the reasons we developed this guide, is to provide global organisations with a country framework to address issues like mental health access, quality, cost and stigma that allows for a ‘glocal’ approach, one in which there is a global strategy that is highly locally relevant.”

Although the guide can be used globally, the vast majority of its content is dedicated to providing managers with extensive information on mental health issues and programmes in 10 countries around the globe.

These include China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, UAE and the UK, and provides recommendations for employers on how to implement an Employee Assistant Programme (EAP) or create a well-being culture, and the names of non-governmental organisations and national campaigns on mental health, amongst others.