The World Health Organisation has stated that, by 2029, more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem. Referred to as an epidemic, anxiety and depression will be the biggest health burden on society both economically and sociologically. The case for mental wellbeing is compelling and Litha is the world’s first true AI Therapist.
Engaging with the economic impact
There is a financial impact of non-productivity in the UK economy due to mild-moderate depression and anxiety in the workforce. This figure is £35 billion (source: “Mental Health at Work”, the Centre of Mental Health, 2018).
This manifests itself in absenteeism, presenteeism and the replacement of people who have left due to anxiety or mild-moderate depression.
In 2018, UK employees lost an average of 35.6 days of productive time per employee. Mild-moderate depression accounted for 44.7% or 16 days (source: “Health at Work”, Vitality Insurance, 2019).
On a wider scale, the USA reports a $300bn impact (source: Mental Health America).
Globally, we are looking at in excess of $1.0 trillion economic impact.World Health Organisation, 2019
In 2017, Deloitte calculated the cost of poor mental health in the workplace to be £33bn-£42bn. The projected ROI of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive, with an average ROI of 4:1. (source: “Mental Health and Wellbeing in Employment”, Deloitte, 2017).
Personal Stories of Mental Wellbeing
There are two stories to explain the current state of affairs regarding mental wellbeing.
PoliceCare UK is a charity caring for serving and former police officers and staff, volunteers, and their families. This charity provides practical, emotional and financial support for serving and former police officers, staff, and volunteers who suffer harm as a result of their policing role.
In 2018, Cambridge University conducted the survey, “Policing: The Job & The Life” where researchers analysed responses from 16,857 of the serving officers and operational staff who participated. Amongst key parts of the research, analysis looked at the prevalence rates of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the first known time in a policing population.
The research team found that 90% of police workers who responded had been exposed to trauma. Of these, one in five reported experiencing either PTSD or Complex PTSD symptoms in the past four weeks.
“For the first time in the UK we can see behind the cultural trope of the burnt-out copper who has seen too much. This is a clinical and public sector crisis.”Dr Jess Miller, Cambridge University’s Department of Sociology
Police Force Presenteeism
Two-thirds of all respondents to “The Job, The Life” said they had a mental health issue directly resulting from police work. Almost 93% of respondents said that they would go to work as usual if suffering from psychological issues such as stress or depression.
A Health Service Under Stress
Gill Scott-Moore, Chief Executive of Police Care UK noted that, ““there is no comprehensive strategy to tackle the issue of mental health in policing.”
She also stated. “the service has real challenges around recognising and responding to the signs and symptoms of trauma exposure and is heavily reliant upon generic NHS provision that isn’t equipped for the specialist treatment needed”.
At an individual level, we have heard many stories regarding mental ill health and a lack of resource. In the UK, the Miscarriage Association identified one miscarriage in every four pregnancies. NHS Choices records it as one in every eight.
In 2017, England and Wales saw 847,000 conceptions (source: UK Office for National Statistics) which does not include abortions or miscarriages.
Waiting times for an initial telephone conversation with a counsellor about miscarriage can be as long as six weeks and this does not guarantee an appointment.
So where do people dealing with the grief of miscarriage go? Support groups are extremely valid but can we do more to help?
I had been ‘down’ for over ten years but it isn’t in our culture to talk about it, so I said nothing. Everyone could see that I wasn’t my usual self but nobody said anything. I showed my wife my suicide note “just in case I decided to do something”. She immediately took me to our GP. The GP read my note and said that I was depressed. He then told me that, as there’s such a long waiting list for therapy, would I like some tablets? I need someone to talk to and to help me; I don’t want to be given drugs.Confidential interview, 2019
So here we are: a rising demand for mental health support, insufficient support, yet the opportunity to derive huge economic benefits whilst helping our fellow humans.
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