Like many families of my generation, mental illness was something we never spoke about. “Do your job,” “Suck it up,” “Deal with it,” was the attitude ingrained in our upbringing. Thankfully, our attitudes are changing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly brought mental health awareness to the forefront. My hope is that this blog may play a small role in facilitating more open conversations surrounding mental illness.
When you look at the statistics, the numbers are stark and are only amplified by COVID-19. In a recent study from the World Economic Forum, the following numbers highlight the importance of addressing our global mental health crisis:
- $16 trillion dollars is the potential cost to our world economy between 2010 to 2030 due to mental health conditions.
- 12 billion days of lost productivity every year due to anxiety and depression.
- 48 percent of Gen Z and 44 percent of Millennials say they feel stressed all or most of the time.
We all know someone who is struggling. Mental illness impacts many families, including my own.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on so many businesses, but perhaps the biggest impact has been on our mental health. The issues around mental health precede this pandemic and forced isolation has exacerbated the situation.
This pandemic will pass. We will get back to normal, albeit a new normal.
What will we learn from this? How will we address the mental health issues we face in the future? I don’t have the answers, but the questions are important to keep asking.
Much has been written and will continue to be written. I am no expert but I offer up these suggestions.
- Spend time with people close to you and your employees. Listen.
- Recognize that some of your employees may be stressed and suffering from depression or anxiety, but not everyone will easily open up.
- Offer your support and help where you can.
- Take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Many people are suffering through this pandemic. Let’s remind each other of the importance of checking in.
I have learned so much from people close to me and I am committed to keep learning.
I applaud the work being done by Bell and other organizations during Bell Let’s Talk day.
We all have a role in promoting mental health awareness. Let’s keep the conversation going.