Marking World Mental Health Day 2020
World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the type of mental health issues that the coronavirus pandemic has brought into stark relief.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. Their overarching objective for the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.
The 2020 event takes place in a year unlike any other, a year in which the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought the topic of mental health into stark relief.
From the pressures of life under lockdown, to loneliness and isolation, anxiety over health and financial concerns and grief for lost lives, most people have suffered impacts upon their mental health. For those who were already facing mental health problems pre-pandemic, life may well have become additionally challenging.
The accountancy profession is not immune to these concerns. AccountingWEB’s recent wellbeing pulse survey found that 47% of accountants rated their mental health as bad or worse, with the combination of long hours, being overwhelmed by the coronavirus workload, and the stress of helping clients all taking their toll.
The importance of human capital
Pre-pandemic research from January of this year showed that mental health problems were the biggest cause of sickness absence, costing up to £45 billion a year in the UK alone. Add in the economic impacts of COVID-19 and employers can’t afford not to look after their staff’s mental wellbeing.
Even in socially distant times there are ways to connect with and care for employees, such as the SHARE approach outlined by the British Psychological Society, which aims to help create healthy, sustainable homeworking conditions.
Here at ICAS we are listening to the voices of our Members, Students and staff. Through initiatives such as CA Wellbeing we are attempting to stimulate debate and promote positive wellbeing for the good of the profession and in the public interest, much as we stand behind ethics, sustainability and equality. Our attitude is that Chartered Accountants should be as concerned with human capital as they are by financial capital.
There are also simple steps many of us as individuals can take to better look after our mental health, such as eating well, keeping active, talking about our feelings and asking for help when we need it. And if there is some good to come from the current prevalence of mental health concerns it might be that, as they gain a more mainstream acceptance, those who feel the need to ask for help may be more likely to do so, their voices more likely to be heard.
You can learn more about World Mental Health Day 2020 here or visit CA Wellbeing for information, advice and links to useful resources: