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When Mental Health becomes an Asset for Business

Updated: Oct 5, 2020

Words by Melina Seeam – Ogilvy Intern (June 2020)

Source: Photograph from Article by Michelle Hill

We are in one of the places in the world with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases, Namibia, home to one of the most beautiful natural landscapes. Here in Windhoek – the capital city and business hub as we are slowly transiting from one stage to another, I reflect on what my next article shall be about. I come to realise there are growing debates on the struggles of keeping a positive energy. With strong mental health reportedly having the ability to drive business proliferation, it ends up becoming my inspiration to share some insights on this topic.

Mental health had its roots emerged in philosophy. Since Greek antiquity times, medical documents conceptualized on health and diseases that prevailed over communities. The link between history and modernity establishes how schools of thought from the past had a role in shaping modern thinking when it comes to mental health. We must just understand that sometimes illnesses cannot be disassociated between the physical and social environments. For this reason, it should be acknowledged that internal and external health are influences to one another.

COVID-19 has not just disrupted the medical world but also global economies. With an invisible enemy on the loose, it is not always easy to remain positive therefore making mental health a luxury to have amidst these difficult times. Yet, if mastered right it can become a powerful tool for individuals. Positive leadership integrated within the corporate culture may help businesses proliferate in spite of the drastic economic downturn. Based on the statistical data, a majority of countries do have strong mental health measures in place. Governments increase the possibilities for businesses to redesign their organizational models capacitating them to incorporate mental health programmes which will convert into positivity for employees and companies.

Statistics from the World Health Organization: Graph shows percentages of the total number of countries who have invested in their mental health systems. 68% is the average for all reported countries and their mental health investments out of their health budgets in place.

Psychologies Magazine helps us understand that a normal individual without a complicated mental health condition is able to work on maintaining a strong mental health simply by following some essential tips which include:

  1. Creating habits which replete both physical and mental reserves.

  2. Framing goals positively.

  3. Getting in tune with the body and refuelling the mind.

Psychologies Wellness At Work pictures the importance of having a good mental health in work-centric environments. It can help avoid yearly increases in sick leaves and capitalize on saving two major components of a business; that of human capital and finances. Employers can create a wellness framework that implements 4 steps:

  1. Creation of a coaching culture where management supports teams by investing more in training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth.

  2. Increasing awareness through mindfulness training, as evidence shows, can contribute to performance growth, teamwork and client relations’ improvements.

  3. Radical self-care can increase team’s engagement, cohesiveness and overall productivity.

  4. Improving on flexibility i.e. ‘working from home’ as a key factor for an energised and inspirational environment.

Source: Photograph by Garrett Rowland Photography

In the advertising world just because the world seems to be at a standstill, it does not mean that agencies can stop winning clients or fail to influence markets. Brands do still matter, and we make brands matter. A good management and positive team give us the power to slow the erosion of brand value, handle crisis, as well as respond to change quickly. Landor has set out guidelines listing ways in which we can adopt a positive approach in the current COVID-19 climate comprising of the following points:

  1. Being truthful

  2. Having a clear purpose

  3. Cultivating your community

  4. Being prepared to change

  5. Practicing the impossible

Additional Resource:

Tountas, Y. 2009. The Historical Origins of the Basic Concepts of Health Promotion and Education: The Role of Ancient Greek Philosophy and Medicine. Health Promotion International. 24(2): 185-192.

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