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Innovative strategies in place to prioritise workplace mental health

Fostering a positive and supportive work culture is one of the aspects International SOS promotes. (Image source: International SOS)


International SOS, a leading health and security risk services company, highlighted the significance of workplace mental health and resilience in recognition of World Mental Health Day 2023

The company aims to draw attention and address the need for fostering mental health of employees and building resilience in the workplace as a significant means to improve workforce productivity and engagement. In line with this, the company provides a framework for assisting organisations in resolving challenges and cultivating a supportive workplace culture that prioritises mental health and overall well-being of employees. 

Dr Rodrigo Rodriguez-Fernandez, global health advisor for Wellness and Mental Health at International SOS, stated, “Action for mental health at work is extremely necessary. The detrimental consequences of overlooking this crucial aspect can affect from individual employees to the organisation as a whole. They must nurture a workplace culture that values mental health and provide workforce with the knowledge and resources as well as appropriate and affordable counselling and assistance. Additionally, they can also launch several comprehensive employee wellness programmes, which will help create a resilient ecosystem capable of navigating the challenges of today's dynamic world.”

International SOS' framework for supporting mental health and resilience urges organisations to employ a combination of human and technology-driven solutions to improve the mental healthcare of their workforce. This framework promotes undertaking efforts, such as fostering a positive and supportive work culture, ensuring leadership commitment and providing access to toolkit of mental health resources, including counselling and self-help materials. It further urges organisations to effectively meet individual needs, including providing flexible work schedules, and offer training and education as well as launch awareness programmes for employees.

Furthermore, the framework also suggests continuous monitoring and assessment of staff’s mental health by conducting surveys and other evaluations, as well as offering employees private counselling and support services through employee assistance programmes (EAPs). Digitally enabled mental health treatment, such as the Koa Foundations Wellbeing App, enables organisations to increase the uptake of EAP and already-existing services as well as improve access to care while substantially reducing costs. As evidence of the success of these initiatives, the International SOS Assistance Centre recorded a 5% increase in requests for assistance linked to mental illness during the first half of 2023 compared to the same time in 2022.

In the Middle East, both governments and businesses are increasingly prioritising the mental health of its residents and employees. The National Wellbeing Strategy 2031, for instance, was unveiled by the UAE government with the objective of improving people's wellbeing by supporting healthy and active lifestyles, fostering good mental health, and encouraging positive thinking.