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Advocate for healthcare policy for large employers – Business Group on Health – has unveiled a number of dramatic figures on the cost of mental health of the workforce of global organisations.

The group revealed that the estimated cost of depression and anxiety to the global economy is US$1 trillion and that 91 million workdays are lost annually due to mental health disorders – and that figure is just for the UK alone.

The release of the guide coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month and comes at a time when mental health needs of employees across the globe are increasing – especially in countries greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Hong Kong has been making inroads into the stigma of employees reporting their own mental health issues, it still remains an issue in the city – and an issue that international corporations based in Asia need to be mindful of.

“Addressing mental health issues locally can be one of the most difficult challenges for global organisations. It’s 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.” said Kathleen O’Driscoll, VP of Business Group on Health.

She added that it’s essential that “global organisations with a country framework 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”.

Drilling down also on the guide’s findings in mainland China made for a compelling snapshot. One of the guide’s key takeaways was that ­– like Hong Kong and much of Asia – there is a stigma associated with employees admitting to experiencing mental health issues with their employer.

Also, that revealing a mental disorder is a sign of weakness. A situation that is exacerbated by a shortage of mental health professionals in China, the group reported.

Want to sharpen your skills on managing health and mental wellness in the workplace? Feel free to check out Human Resources Online’s learning portal, Uniqskills. Registrations open. 

mental health infographic
Infographic courtesy Business Group on Health