World Happiness Agora – Future of Health

On March 18th, 2019, join the most influential thought provokers on Health & Happiness at the World Happiness Agora in a discussion on how to co-create the future of health.

With more than 500 million people in the world suffering from common mental disorders, mental illness is one of the primary causes of unhappiness in the world. The disease leads to depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and in the worst cases, suicide. In fact, mental disorders result in almost as much of the misery that poverty does, and more than the unhappiness that physical illness creates. It exists everywhere, affecting people in every country, regardless of social class.

The Cost of Mental Illness

Treating mental illness could save companies billions by lowering absenteeism and increasing productivity. By focusing on treatment and prevention, organizations would avoid the damaging effects of the disease, and the cost of extra physical healthcare.

When companies create a culture that promotes positivity in the workplace, mental health is cultivated. All employees regardless of department and position should be trained to recognize the signs to ensure that colleagues in distress get the attention and help they need to not only continue their work but improve their health and well-being.

The irony is that while mental illness forces governments and companies to spend billions, there are cost-effective treatments to prevent the damaging effects of disorders. In fact, prevention programs cost very little in comparison. Mental illness should be tackled early on; the natural place to first address psychological health is at schools. In most countries, 10% of people under the age of 19 have some level of mental illness. Unfortunately, many of these children go undiagnosed unless that have some form of behavioral problem. Ultimately, it’s these young people who have disorders that make them more likely to take drugs, attempt suicide, commit a crime, drop out of school, and depend on welfare – costing governments billions.

Creating a Culture of Caring, Mental Health, and Happiness

A good place to start cultivating a culture that promotes the importance of mental health and well-being would be to provide training for parents. They will learn not only to recognize the signs of mental illness but prevent them from developing in their children. The key is to encourage honesty, gratitude, and happiness. They will learn how by merely playing with their child and praising them can dramatically affect their kids’ behavior and outlook on life. Parents will also recognize the value of setting boundaries and how to appropriately punish kids for not following rules without breaking their spirit.

Each government in the world should prioritize the promotion of happiness and well-being and ensure they have a mental health plan in place. Treatment and prevention should be at the center of their illness policies. There should be a conversation focused on the procedures offered, adequate training for the people who will deliver them, and identifying the services where these treatments will be offered.

When governments talk openly about mental illness, the stigma around it is lifted. It allows society to feel more comfortable and honest about their conditions, allowing them to receive treatment sooner. It’s vital that the public is made aware that mental illness is treatable and that those who suffer from it should not lose hope.