Pandemic and mental health were the focus of WHO during the recent World Mental Health Day. The picture that emerged is disappointing, caused by the global inability to provide people with the mental health services they need, especially at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a great call for help.
According to analyzes conducted by the recruiting firm Hays, over 50% of international workers surveyed said the pandemic had a negative impact on their emotional stability.
And most of them have suffered in the past year from some form of anxiety, fatigue or exhaustion from their work.
Problems also felt by managers and middle managers. Nine out of ten failed to manage their teams during COVID.
According to many psychologists, the real pandemic coming is that of mental health because Covid-19 has touched the emotional state of society and the world of work.
The mental health of workers, a risk, after Covid-19
Many professionals are suffering from a stress overload that will put a strain on health services that are often lacking in psychiatrists and psychologists.
And in most of Europe it was noted that drug use has not stopped growing after almost 17 months of the pandemic, the use of sleeping pills and relaxants increased by 6% between August 2020 and 2021 and that of system depressants. nervous by 4%.
Now the real problem seems to be pandemic fatigue. For many people, working from home had increased their quality of life and suddenly they had to go back to the office by decree.
This is generating a lot of frustration and discomfort. Two out of four people are affected by returning to work.
Being in the office doesn’t prevent Zoom or Teams meetings, and these mixed formulas cause a lot of stress, depression and sadness.
According to many health professionals, the anxiety-depressive syndrome is the most common.
The mental health of workers, a risk, for Covid-19
Covid has doubled or tripled the rates of high work stress, the risks of poor mental health and sleep problems compared to 2016.
Between 2020 and 2021, the workload that must be done in a given time and over which the worker has a low power of influence has increased. The risk of having mental health problems increased by nearly four points among workers with basic needs covered and by more than five points among those whose low wages do not allow them to cover them. Something similar to what happens with sleep problems or drug use.
The most exposed to these risks are clearly precarious workers and women, with professional figures such as kitchen helpers, nursing home workers, domestic workers, emergency technicians, cashiers and supplies, assistant nurses, waiters and cleaners.
Although a Sodexo study confirms that 60% of companies consider the physical and emotional well-being of their employees to be the main challenge they face, the reality is that few take the psychosocial risks of their workforce seriously and fewer are those who take serious measures to change working conditions. Conditions such as: that the workforce adapts to the existing workload, that more participatory and less hierarchical working methods are generated, that the shortcomings in the processes are corrected and that the illegal use that is given to the temporary contract is changed.
Many psychologists believe that these psychosocial risks are being warned that they lead to drug and alcohol addictions. But also to avoid suicides due to stressful situations or the fear of losing your job.
Few companies still give their employees total flexibility to choose where and when they want to work. But among those that do (ING, Liberty Seguros or pfsGROUP), employee engagement remains above 90%.
Less than a month ago, Congress admitted the first general mental health bill at the request of United We Can, an important step that puts counseling a priority.
According to the WHO, states contribute an average of 2% of their public budgets to mental health, a percentage that hasn’t changed in recent years. This percentage ensures that over 70% of total public expenditure has been directed to mental health hospitals in low-income countries, compared to 35% in high-income countries. Less than 50% of the world’s population receives treatment for psychological conditions, 40% for depression and 29% for psychosis.
Fortunately, however, the number of mental health professionals has increased, from nine workers per 100,000 population in 2014 to 13 workers in 2020.