WHO calls for yoga classes in workplace to improve employee mental health

While untold millions have lost confidence in medical institutions as politics become a leading factor in determining guidelines and recommendations, the World Health Organization (WHO) made sure to remind how serious they are with some ideas that include employers and yoga.

A politically motivated, one-size-fits-all response to COVID and voicing serious concerns over the potential racist implications of referring to a virus as “monkeypox” have been just a few of the ways the WHO and Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have worked to influence change. Now, instead of looking at the flaws in culture that have perpetuated victimhood as an aspirational end, with the help of the International Labor Organization (ILO), they have released a policy brief on Mental Health at Work that could soon find workers packing a gym bag on their way to the office.

Seeking to address “an estimated 12 billion workdays…lost annually due to depression and anxiety,” the organizations unveiled their brief Wednesday that would compel manager training to, in certain cases provide “individual interventions in the workplace” that would be “delivered straight to a worker who then completes them, with or without guidance from a competent practitioner. They include psychosocial interventions and opportunities for leisure-based physical activity.”

Essentially, workplaces would have to make opportunities available for employees facing “psychosocial” concerns to be able to participate in a gym class, go for a walk, or do yoga, presumably on the company dime.

The policy brief described “psychosocial risks” by stating, “Unsafe working environments create risk factors for mental health. These are known as ‘psychosocial risks’ and may be related to job content or work schedule, specific characteristics of the workplace, or opportunities for career development, among other things.”

Tedros remarked of the initiative launch, “It’s time to focus on the detrimental effect work can have on our mental health.”

“The wellbeing of the individual is reason enough to act, but poor mental health can also have a debilitating impact on a person’s performance and productivity,” he went on, adding, “These new guidelines can help prevent negative work situations and cultures and offer much-needed mental health protection and support for working people.”

ILO Director-General Guy Rider also opined, “As people spend a large proportion of their lives in work–a safe and healthy working environment is critical.”

“We need to invest to build a culture of prevention around mental health at work, reshape the work environment to stop stigma and social exclusion, and ensure employees with mental health conditions feel protected and supported,” Rider stated.

The report raised concerns about 15 percent of the population experience some kind of mental disorder, a 25 percent increase since the beginning of COVID, while also contending that the average government only spent two percent of health budgets on mental health. As the WHO is an agency within the United Nations, it would come as no surprise to see corporations that have embraced environmental, social and governance (ESG) scoring implementing these recommendations taking the world one step closer to George Orwell’s “1984.”


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Kevin Haggerty


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