Global Agenda Council on Well-being & Mental Health 2012-2013
Lack of human well-being is a global syndrome of the 21st century, and the result of the way economies, lifestyles and development trends have evolved over time. It is extraordinarily costly for governments and the private sector alike, crowding out essential monies for much-needed government services and reducing profits. For example, the costs associated with mental illness and non-communicable diseases amount to 5% of global GDP annually, with most costs related to absenteeism and the inability to work due to poor health.
On the other hand, positive mental health and well-being underscore how well an individual is able to contribute effectively and productively to society as well as experience a high personal quality of life, intrinsic to supporting sustainable development.
This invisible epidemic is an underappreciated cause of poverty and hinders the economic development of many countries. Lack of well-being is not an issue for the health sector alone; an interdisciplinary public-private sector approach is required to effectively respond to and tackle this burden.
As the world is moving towards the post-Millennium Development Goal agenda, the health and well-being of people will increasingly be a shared responsibility of governments and all other partners, as already clearly stated in the discussions around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Less than 30% of European workers are satisfied with their work-life balance. The time crunch is particularly strong for working mothers and the well-being of children is strongly affected by parents’ capacity to both work and spend adequate amounts of time with them.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- In a three-month period, patients with depression miss an average of 4.8 work days and suffer 11.5 days of reduced productivity.
“Happiness and well-being should be reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals. Happier people are more productive and it is important to highlight that well-being and development go hand-in-hand.”
Lord Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head, Home Civil Service (2005-2011), United Kingdom
“Mental health lies at the root of so many of our social problems and yet it is shockingly neglected by our policy-makers. This will only change if there is a minister for mental health within the cabinet.”
Lord Richard Layard, Director, Well-being Programme, Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
4th OECD World Forum: Measuring Well-Being for Development and Policy Making
16-18 October 2012
New Delhi, India
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013
Building on last year’s report and ongoing work, the Council aims to address several new angles of relevance to support the arguments for resilience, positive mental health and well-being as intrinsic to the discussions on SDGs.
During the forthcoming term, the Council will:
- Underline the role of incentives to create resilience and improve well-being and mental health at individual, organizational and societal levels. This will include the identification of simple measures, such as physical activity, which can be a lever for positive mental health, well-being and productivity.
- Highlight the role of employers in creating system-level change towards increased mental health and well-being, at work and in the extended community. This includes offering support to identify existing tools and guidelines for “how-to” engagement in this area, providing metrics that are comparable and building the economic rationale for investment.
- Make the case for leadership from the business community in the well-being space, including providing support to innovation and offering new approaches to support the SDGs from a multistakeholder perspective.
The Global Agenda Council on Well-being & Mental Health will interact with other Councils in the Network of Global Agenda Councils to strengthen their focus areas and use their feedback to develop deliverables. Some of the Councils that this group aims to interact with are those on Ageing, Education & Skills, Neuroscience & Behaviour, the Role of Business, and Competitiveness. The Councils on Robotics & Smart Devices, Personalized & Precision Medicine, Population Growth and Digital Health have expressed interest in working with this group and will be involved in discussions at the next Summit on the Global Agenda.
Research Analyst: Shubhra Saxena Kabra, Knowledge Manager, Global Agenda Councils, Shubhra.Saxena@weforum.org
Council Manager: Eva Jané-Llopis, Director of Health Programmes, Eva.Jane-Llopis@weforum.org
Forum Lead: Olivier Raynaud, Senior Director, Head of Global Health and Healthcare Industries, Olivier.Raynaud@weforum.org