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TOWARDS A HEALTHY WORKFORCE IN EUROPE

TOWARDS A HEALTHY WORKFORCE IN EUROPE

Committee for Mental Health and Healthy Workforce proposes the following innovative solutions:

Executive Summary

Psychosocial risks and work stress are among the most challenging and pressing European occupational safety and health (OSH) concerns. Workrelated stress has emerged as a major challenge not only for employers and employees across Europe, but also for healthcare and health security systems, with roughly half of the EU workforce considering that work-related stress is indeed a challenge they have to face. Mental health problems (e.g. burnout, depression, anxiety) impose a heavy toll on individuals, society and the economy, representing a significant share of the EU’s burden of disability. Costs for work-related depression alone in the EU are over EUR 600 billion per year – or more than 4% of GDP – while mental health problems increase the corporate costs of employers by several billions per year. This ensuing high cost of work absenteeism along with the growing recognition of the link between human capital and resources and business outcomes demand a targeted effort to improve our limited knowledge around work-related clinical (depression and anxiety disorders) and non-clinical mental health issues (burnout, stress, depressive symptoms) and instruments to manage workers’ mental health and well-being. Good planning and the proper involvement of workers in the assessment of psychosocial risks can optimise working conditions through priority preventive measures, thereby creating benefits for workers and employers.

Promoting, maintaining and recovering the mental health of the workforce needs to become a priority in the EU.

The mental health of the workforce and the concept of the Economy of Wellbeing are two undeniably linked themes. They require the attention of the EU from a political, societal but also economical point of view. The EU needs to encourage and stimulate the engagement of EU citizens in matters and actions related to the understanding of the importance of mental health (bottom-up approach). A better societal understanding will not only allow the EU to promote mental wellbeing, but also will pave the way for targeted public and private investment, focusing for example in the field of prevention. Our recommendations aim to highlight the need to focus on the psychosocial occupational safety, health and wellbeing of the workforce by engaging EU citizens in the fight against stigma, promoting tools to foster pan-European collaborations and increasing the impact of existing policies and future recommendations:

  1. The EU and Member States’ national and regional governments should include recommendations for the promotion of good mental health and the management of psychosocial risks in all labour and workplace related policies.
  2. Policymakers, elected representatives/ government representatives, employers and employees should make better and more frequent use of the collective intelligence of scientific research, NGOs, stakeholder initiatives and engaged citizens in an inclusive approach to ensure solutions towards psychosocially safe and healthy work life.
  3. Develop an EU quality framework for existing and new digital tools, to guide implementation of psychosocial occupational safety and health risks management.
  4. Future interventions and policies need to recognise managers as agents of change in reducing psychosocial risks at work, promoting mentally safe workplaces and creating a culture of openness towards mental health.

#MentalHealthEqualsWealth #EU4BetterWorklife

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