Every workplace should offer staff yoga classes to help with mental health, WHO says

The World Health Organization (WHO) said yoga should be introduced in every workplace.

Both yoga and stress management courses can reduce mental illness in the workplace, while managers must also undergo mental health training to enable them to help their employees, according to global health leaders.

The World Health Organization, along with the International Labor Organization (ILO), has developed new policy documents on what can be done to help improve mental health in the workplace.

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Its recommendations included training managers to support workers’ mental health by preventing stressful work environments and responding to workers in distress.

Improving employee awareness of mental health issues and interventions “aimed at building workers’ stress management skills” – which could include mindfulness training – have also been suggested.

Leisure activity

The World Health Organization has proposed workplace opportunities for “leisure-centred physical activity” which could include resistance training, strength training, walking or yoga – and if they cannot be conducted in a work environment, companies should “facilitate external opportunities” For workers to participate.

Organizations have also been told to screen employees’ workloads because “a large workload increases the risk of symptoms of mental health conditions.”

For workers in “emotional distress, psychosocial interventions such as those based on mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral approaches, or problem-solving training, may be considered in order to reduce these symptoms and improve work effectiveness,” says the document, which highlights the risks to employee mentality. Health, including bullying and psychological violence – also known as “mobbing”.

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The World Health Organization has said that about one in seven adults of working age has a mental health disorder.

It is estimated that 12 billion “workdays” are lost each year around the world due to depression and anxiety among workers.

1 trillion pounds lost due to depression

It is estimated that £1 trillion is lost annually from the global economy due to depression and anxiety, in large part from lost productivity.

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “It is time to focus on the harmful impact work can have on our mental health.

“An individual’s well-being is reason enough to act, but poor mental health can also have a debilitating effect on a person’s performance and productivity.

“These new guidelines can help prevent negative work attitudes and cultures and provide much-needed mental health protection and worker support.”

“As people spend a large part of their lives at work, a safe and healthy working environment is critical,” added Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labor Organization.

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