Global Agenda Council on Well-being & Mental Health 2012-2014
A healthy and satisfied population creates not only a more productive workforce, which in turn improves a country’s economic growth, but also an enhanced quality of life, leading to more sustainable development. While the effects of mental health differ from country to country, the Global Agenda Council on Well-being & Mental Health has chosen to concentrate on well-being and mental health in the workforce, with a focus on Europe. In today’s world, one in four European Union citizens can expect to suffer a mental health problem during a lifetime, with up to 10% of the European population experiencing some type of depressive or anxiety-related disorder every year. Poor mental health in Europe (and elsewhere) can be linked to productivity losses and has economic implications for the healthcare system.
What the Council is doing about it
As the world moves to build on the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, health and well-being will increasingly become a shared responsibility, as stated in the discussions around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are being led by the United Nations Development Programme and incorporate various UN organizations and agencies, along with non-governmental organizations and national governments. But too many issues are vying to be included in the SDGs, and health is only one of them. The challenge is that no clear process of inclusion exists, too many organizations are duplicating efforts, and no coordinated response is forthcoming.
Meanwhile, the Council is working to produce an Internet-based app to measure and give wider public exposure to personal resilience and well-being; users of the app will be able to take preventative action and reduce the risk of mental illness. The Council is also providing extensive input on developing the MDGs by involving its members as representatives in the global process. The aim is to give well-being and mental health recognition within a broader health context, and include them as a specific agenda on the UN’s post-2015 development charter that contains a framework to develop the MDGs.
“In today’s world, one in four European Union citizens can expect to suffer a mental health problem during a lifetime, with up to 10% of the European population experiencing some type of depressive or anxiety-related disorder every year.”
The Council plans to hold a meeting in London to raise private-sector awareness of the need to invest in programmes and policies that reduce the risk of mental illness in the workforce. Diminishing this risk would benefit the bottom line of companies and increase economic productivity. The London meeting is expected to catalyse strategic dialogue within the corporate community, potentially leading to actionable points for companies (for example, ensuring a well-being component in their annual reports). The Council also intends to engage its counterparts examining the issues of employment, labour, economic growth and sustainable economies to ensure these fields are integrated into any action or solution proposed at the London meeting.
To get involved please contact
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
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