Sharing – ‘Investing’ in mental health is doomed to fail because humans aren’t stocks

I get what Tanmoy is saying here, but as someone who frequently writes about mental health in the workspace, I’m not sure I would totally agree. First, yes, this is how it sounds when we talk about mental health as it relates to work.

“But none of that mattered in the face of a single fatal flaw: the author’s rationale citing the World Health Organization that we must invest in mental health because well, if we don’t, it will cost us “over a trillion dollars in lost productivity”.

This is what that sounded like to me: care about mental health — but not because it is a fundamental human right. Care about it because it is a goose that lays golden eggs.”

Again, I get that this sounds ridiculous to talk about an individual’s mental health in terms of what they offer in terms of productivity, and not in terms of them just being a human being and having value.

It sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous. But, it is also the language of business. Look, your employer only started offering things like flu shots and health screenings because sick employees don’t get much work done, and cost more in insurance premiums, not because the company suddenly started caring about having healthy employees. That’s the reality.

It would be nice if employers did these things, and wanted to also invest in mental health resources, just because it’s the best thing for all of us as individuals and as a society, and likely some employers do. Others won’t get involved until it benefits them.

So, we speak to them in the language they understand. Because we need the money, the “investment”, now. We can’t wait for the whole world to agree that they need to do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Too many people will go without while we wait for the perfect solution. We have to take the imperfect for now.

And, while we are doing that, we can also advocate for the recognition of mental health treatment being a basic right of humanity.

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