From 10 May to 16 May, Mental Health Europe* hosts the second edition of European Mental Health Week. The pan-European initiative – inspired by similar campaigns in the US, Canada, and the UK – aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in our everyday lives. This year’s theme ‘Mental Health Matters’ focuses on mental health as a high-profile societal issue, but also a personal experience for everyone during the pandemic and beyond. We are all experiencing a different pandemic. We feature Jessica Lang, coordinator of PsyHealth worXs!, Soňa Sikorová, co-founder of Mindpax and Linda Weber, co-founder and CEO of Mindable Health, our community members working in the field of mental health.
“The week is a chance for people to talk about all aspects of mental health, share personal stories of how people are coping with difficulties during the coronavirus crisis and highlight the need for action focusing on advice and support.” – Mental Health Europe
Why is positive mental health important?
Mental health is something that pervades all aspects of our daily life – from work to home, to working from home. With the lines between leisure and working life becoming blurry due to varying government regulations, awareness of psychological wellbeing, including work-related stress has risen. “Zoom fatigue”, social distancing, and burnout are terms we have grown accustomed to and are concepts that have become a reality for many individuals. Jessica Lang from PsyHealth worXs! shared her thoughts on the importance of positive mental health: “A state of mental well-being is the basis for good health, satisfaction and of course work ability. Workers whose mental well-being is positive are more productive. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, focusing on good psychosocial working conditions becomes a competitive advantage.”.
Why is it important to raise awareness of these issues?
“Especially in times of crises it is important to keep an eye on changed work characteristics that may pose a threat to mental health to workers: for example because of loneliness while working from home or lack of work-privacy boundaries; increased work demands (also emotionally) when working in the healthcare sector or increased aggression from customers who are not compliant with the strict hygiene regulations in a supermarket” shares Jessica Lang. She encourages us to “assess the changed work characteristics and find measures to counteract those stressors for the well-being of employees.”
Aside from working life, mental health in a personal sphere has also been affected by social distancing measures. “Anxiety and panic attacks are increasing massively due to COVID-19, while psychotherapists are unable to fully satisfy the demand,” stated Linda Weber, co-founder and CEO of Mindable Health, who developed a prescription app to help individuals face their fears and overcome anxiety. “Psychotherapists are relieved, while users receive a valuable tool to independently confront their anxiety in times of social isolation.”
Personal tips on looking after your mental health
“Positive energy, drive, joy and balance. That’s how it should be for all of us” – Jessica Lang, coordinator of PsyHealth worXs!
While everyone should have equal access to mental health support, we are aware that in reality, this is still a challenge to be overcome. Soňa Sikorová from Mindpax shared the following three tips on how you can take care of your mental health:
We are thankful to be able to highlight individuals from our community working so hard on these issues.
Join the conversation using #MoreThanEver and #EuropeanMentalHealthWeek
PsyHealth worXs! is a tool that trains employers and all stakeholders involved in occupational safety and health on how to properly conduct a psychosocial risk assessment at work, so that work characteristics will be designed in a way that promotes health and well-being.
Mindable Health: with waiting times of around 5 months, the goal of Linda Weber, CEO and co-founder was to leverage technology to bring psychotherapy closer to the people in need. The app Mindable enables patients to begin psychotherapeutic treatment immediately. Now being accepted to the DiGA directory, the app is medically certified to treat panic disorder and agoraphobia (claustrophobia).
Mindpax developed a personalised monitoring platform for tracking crucial biomarkers, which reflect the overall functioning, mental and physical health of the individual. By combining psychiatry and data analytics, the digital health start-up helps to speed up the process of psychiatric illness management and prevent relapse.
*Mental Health Europe is a European non-governmental network organisation committed to the promotion of positive mental health, the prevention of mental distress, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of the rights of (ex)users of mental health services, persons with psychosocial disabilities, their families and careers