Positive mental wellness benefits society as it reduces pressure on healthcare services, improves the economy, cuts poverty levels, and a whole lot more. The United Nations (UN) reports that almost 1 billion people worldwide have some type of mental disorder. Untreated mental disorders are a big issue for society that costs billions. In the U.S. alone, they cost $300 billion annually. It’s time for governments and leading bodies to tackle this societal issue head-on, but how should they do it?
Improve mental health services
Worldwide, there is a huge demand for mental health services. This has resulted in a global shortage of mental health care workers. In some countries, up to 85% of people are unable to access mental health care. Earlier this year, the WHO Europe program was announced. It aims to improve mental health services for children and teenagers. But, a wider approach needs to be taken to ensure that all members of society get the right support. Ultimately, governments need to provide more funding for mental health research and care. They also need to ensure that the right measures are being implemented when the results of crucial research are published.
Change the working week
Around 15% of workers develop poor mental health at work, according to Mental Health. Poor mental health may occur following an accident at work. Being in pain, losing earnings, and not being able to work can cause issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Others may experience poor mental health at work due to long working hours. Some governments have recognized the need to change working hours to improve people’s work-life balance and mental wellness. Belgium is set to introduce a 4-day working week in 2023, but a uniform approach needs to be taken across the world. Many countries have trialed a 4-day working week with great success. Iceland’s trial concluded that employees experienced less stress, fewer episodes of burnout, and a better work-life balance when they dropped a working day.
Speak openly about mental illness
Mental illness, no matter how minor or severe, carries a negative stigma. Often, people with poor mental health are viewed as weak, unpredictable, and dangerous. People experiencing poor mental health even feel ashamed of who they are. These stigmas can lead to discriminatory behavior which can stop people from functioning fully in society. It’s time for governments to clamp down on these stigmas and for mental disorders to be normalized. There are sure to be plenty of government officials that have had or currently have a mental illness, but it’s rarely – if ever – spoken about publicly. Doing so would help society see that mental disorders are normal and that you can succeed with them.
Provide free help & support
Someone with mental illness can experience a much happier life with the right mental health support. This could be in the form of medication, psychotherapy, or support groups, among others. DW reports that in at least nine EU countries, patients have to pay towards the cost of a psychologist. Meanwhile, more than one-half of Americans say the cost of mental health care puts them off getting help. The current economic climate means that many people don’t have the cash to spend on their mental health. The impact of this on society will be huge, so governments need to seriously consider making mental health services free to everyone. The sooner someone has their mental health condition under control, the better their health will be, and the more society will benefit.
Everyone strives for their mental wellness to be the best that it can be. But, substantial support is needed from the government and official bodies to keep people’s mental health in the place it should be. In doing so, society as a whole will reap the advantages.