For the first time, INESC TEC will participate in the World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10. Our institution will organise several internal activities, focused on our community, while sharing information with all external stakeholders. The COVID-19 pandemic brought mental health to today’s agenda; for this reason, INESC TEC will carry out several actions to inform and advise about this question, not only on October 10, but throughout the entire month – in line with the institution’s social responsibility strategy.
We are aware that Mental Health is as important as Physical Health, and that even though stress is a normal response to our daily professional life, it can lead to negative psychological effects, particularly over longer periods and in excess. In fact, 30% of deaths in Portugal are caused by cardiovascular diseases, with stress as one of the main risk factors.
Therefore, Mental Health is an instrumental part of our Health. The World Health Organization defines it “as a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively”.
According to the Report on the Cost of Stress and Mental Health Issues in the Workplace, in Portugal – Success and Sustainability of Organisations –, published by the Order of Portuguese Psychologists (2020), psychosocial risks are now one of the greatest threats to workers’ physical and mental health, as well as to the organisations’ adequate operation and productivity.
Research shows that, at the organisational level, Mental Health and Work-related Stress issues cause many negative effects, including reduced motivation, commitment and satisfaction, absenteeism, workplace conflicts and accidents (caused by human factors), among other examples.
In this sense, it is safe to assume that a healthy workplace brings many benefits for both the institution and employees – and we all should take action to promote it. By speaking openly about Mental Health in the Workplace; by discussing this subject; by sharing our experience and listening to our colleagues’ experiences; by respecting others and reporting unfair situations. These are just a few examples of actions that could help promoting an environment that safeguards our well-being.
Let’s keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic will leave significant marks – mainly in terms of mental health – and that the upcoming period will be crucial to (r)establish a new, more sustainable reality in terms of Mental Health.
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