Government must recognise scale of mental health crisis

April 30, 2021

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, is calling on Government to recognise the scale of the mental health crisis now emerging in our society following the extended period of home working and isolation which large cohorts of workers have now experienced for over a year.

As the Irish business community marks National Workplace Wellbeing Day today, Ibec said that Government needs to take concrete steps to support a partial and gradual return to office work in a way that enables employers to address cases of most acute isolation risk.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said: “The impact of isolation on the mental health of our workforces as a result of the pandemic is something that needs careful addressing by employers and Government alike.

“Many of our members are reporting employee mental health issues as the single biggest challenge facing their organisations. Younger workers in particular are suffering significant mental health issues which will have long-term implications for society and the public health system. National Workplace Wellbeing Day represents an important opportunity for employers and Government to take stock and assess whether the most effective policies and supports are in place for the mental health and wellbeing of workers.
“While yesterday’s roadmap from Government was broadly welcomed by business, greater clarity is needed in the return to office protocols and how the safety and well-being of people at work can be securely managed as we begin to reopen our economy.”

Commenting on the companies marking National Workplace Wellbeing Day, Senior executive for Ibec’s KeepWell programme, Sophie Moran said: “The business community’s activity around wellbeing over the past year has been phenomenal. National Workplace Wellbeing Day is a great marker for this as companies share what they have been doing. We’ve seen more and more businesses taking definitive steps to prioritise the wellbeing of their workforces amidst the pandemic. There’s still a way to go however in terms of strategizing for a return to the workplace and looking at how wellbeing can be supported throughout this process.”

National Workplace Wellbeing Day will see up to one thousand employers of all sizes across the public and private sector will host a range of virtual activities today to promote resilience and the importance of social connection in the workplace.

Sample activities for National Workplace Wellbeing Day 2021 include:

• Online meditation and mindfulness practice
• Online guided fitness sessions
• Virtual connect sessions including team lunches, water cooler or coffee break moments
• Online briefings and live Q&A sessions with wellbeing practitioners
• Internal competitions (baking, healthiest dish, share your workstation, fitness related. etc.)
• Online access to medical, counselling and nutrition advice
• Lunchtime 5K - encourage your staff to share a photo of their safe social distancing walk at lunch, and share a collage with us on twitter by using #WorkWell21