According to Forbes, employee well-being is noted as the top HR trend to consider in 2023. The World Health Organisation (WHO) adds that the public health problem of mental health conditions is greater than the volume of investment to address is. While the WHO/ILO have put together guidelines to shift attitudes to mental health, address risks of mental health, and strengthen mental health care, is this enough? And more specifically, is this enough given the context in which we work and live in in South Africa?

South Africa ranks as one of the worst countries regarding mental health. We have 1 in 6 people suffering from anxiety, depression, or substance abuse (Annual Mental State of the World 2021 Reportfrom Sapien Labs; SADAG). We have psychosocial risks that make our situation so much more dire – power and water shedding, political and economic uncertainty, high crime rates, increasing sexual offenses, decreasing GDP, high unemployment… and the list continues.

Considering SA’s unique context… the mental wellbeing of our people is a ticking time bomb! There are many issues we can’t control, but we can as Leaders re-evaluate our mental health strategies to align with WHO’s 12 touchpoints, re-evaluate our organisation’s referral process, so those struggling can get professional assistance timeously, measure, and track the impact that mental health has on our workforce and society, and continuously create awareness, and upskill our employees on how best to overcome mental health challenges

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