This October 2021, mental health month, takes on greater importance in the workplace due to the consequences of the pandemic. Although its end is in sight with the advance in vaccination, this has been postponed with the arrival of the Delta variant, increasing the mental and emotional wear and tear on workers. Therefore, companies have the responsibility to develop new strategies to take care of their employees’ mental health.
According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), absenteeism related to psychological ailments represents a 23.8 percent loss in employee productivity. In addition, it estimates that by 2022, spending on care for work-related disabilities related to mental disorders will increase by 11 to 15 percent.
On the other hand, 15 out of every 100 Mexicans between 18 and 65 years of age will suffer from depression during their lifetime, but only 3 will receive professional help. This, according to the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In the same vein, the pandemic increased the prevalence of anxiety in Mexico from 15% (in 2019) to around 50% in 2020.
Luis Vidrio, sales director for the Indeed employment platform in Mexico, explained to NotiPress as confinement lengthens, collective mental health becomes fragile. For this reason, he emphasized the importance for companies to devise mental health strategies that can help during and after the pandemic.
Vidrio mentions, it is essential to practice self-care and create a network of trusted advisors for workplace issues. “But the most relevant key to mention is that as human resources leaders we must help all employees have a sense of psychological safety,” he stressed.
A survey by employment platform Indeed, conducted in July 2021 in the U.S. shows that the expectation to leave the humdrum of working at home and return to the office is high. Fifty-eight percent of employees looked forward to reuniting with co-workers over the summer and 43% felt a desire to make new work friends. Indeed also surveyed 800 Mexican employees, of whom 43% want to return to face-to-face work and 54% said they feel more productive when working in the office.
The pandemic may eventually end, but the discussion about mental health at work is just beginning. Another condition, burnout syndrome, is experienced by 75% of people working in Mexico, according to the World Health Organization. In this sense, said Vidrio, it is time for those responsible for human resources in companies to look at the needs of their workers from a different perspective in order to improve their overall operational performance.