"Mental health is a basic human right for all people. Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks, the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care, and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community." WHO - 2023
Oct 10th every year we observe World Mental Health Day “to raise awareness about mental health around the world and to mobilize efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues”.
Since 2015, mental health has been included in the UN Sustainable Goals, specifically Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being). This year’s theme is "Mental health is a universal human right.”
Walking people on career development and transition journey, career professionals many times find themselves in a situation of navigating through another crisis: mental health crisis. It’s not a new issue caused by the pandemic. Though Covid-19 worsens mental wellness, mental health challenges in the workplace have been there well before 2020. People have been suffering from stress, burnout, depression and actually a “don’t talk about mental health” culture in (sadly still) many organizations.
While it’s a global effort to create a safe world with mental health as a priority, career professionals could help by:
Educate ourselves about mental health: Mental health is still a topic with a lot of stigmas. Equip ourselves with well-researched knowledge for effective and empathetic communication. People from different backgrounds and cultures might use different languages to talk about mental health. And learning the difference between mental health and mental illness is important too.
Create a safe space for clients, students, colleagues, and family to talk about mental health: this goes side by side with the first step of educating ourselves about the topic. The environment that we co-create with clients, students, and people around us should be safe enough for them to open up and ask for help. Pay attention to the language we use, and how we show our availability, intention, and care to people in need.
Be cautious not to cross the line by knowing when/how to refer people to other support professionals: If issues arise that we are not qualified to support, it’s important to stay honest and empathetic with the person we are working with. Refer to or help them find an appropriate professional.
Collaborate through partnerships: human right violations, discrimination, stigma have severely affected the progress to making mental health become a global priority for all. And only global collaborations can help raise awareness as well as progress toward mental well-being. We need commitment and engagement by all individuals, communities and governments.
Mental health is a global priority, and each of us is part of creating a safe world for that.