The first summit was held in 2021 to bring the world’s first ladies and gentlemen together to promote dialogue and find effective solutions to global humanitarian challenges through soft power, partnership, public diplomacy, exchange of experience, and implementation of joint initiatives.
The 3rd Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, founded by Olena Zelenska, the wife of the President of Ukraine, took place in Kyiv on the 6th September 2023.
It was hosted by British actor, director, and writer Stephen Fry and Ukrainian journalist Hanna Homonai.
The theme of the 3rd Summit was 'Mental Health: Fragility and Resilience of the Future' and opening the conference Olena Zelenska noted that it has long been an axiom for all conscious people, at least in the free world, that human life is important and mental health is the basis of this quality. She said that a life of constant anxiety, fear, and uncertainty cannot be called of high quality.
Elena Maysyura, from our office in Kyiv, was an invited guest and the participants discussed how wars and conflicts affect mental health and whether it is possible to adapt to it. She said,
"I was happy to attend as a guest and benefited greatly from the panel discussions. Sarah Brown and Stephen Fry are both incredible experts whose participation made this Summit unforgettable."
The summit consisted of three panels: 'Mental Health: The Balance of Resilience and Fragility', 'The Impact of War on Mental Health', and 'The Generation That Will Lead the World in 15 Years'.
President Zelenskyy noted that people's resilience has its limits. He said he was grateful that this Summit and such a representative discussion was dedicated to the topic of mental health.
Ukraine today demonstrates to the world a people united by common values - a people who value human life.
In today's fast-paced and competitive world, the significance of mental health in the workplace cannot be overstated. We all know that the well-being of employees not only affects their individual lives but also has a profound impact on organizational success. Addressing mental health concerns within the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity. Based on my talks with various firms, let me explore the challenges associated with mental health in the workplace and discuss effective strategies for promoting a mentally healthy work environment.
As I see, one of the major challenges concerning mental health in the workplace is the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues. This stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help, as they fear negative repercussions on their careers or reputations. Consequently, mental health problems might go unnoticed and untreated, leading to more severe issues down the line.
Moreover, the nature of modern work, characterized by high demands, tight deadlines, home office environment and long working hours, can contribute to stress and burnout. These conditions, if left unaddressed, can lead to decreased job satisfaction, increased absenteeism, and reduced overall productivity. Additionally, the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life due to technological advancements can make it challenging for employees to disconnect, exacerbating stress levels.
Managing and improving mental health in the workplace requires a comprehensive and honest approach that involves both employers and employees. Obviously there are many effective strategies to consider, including:
Employers can take the lead in creating a culture of open conversation around mental health. This involves destigmatizing mental health issues by providing information, resources, and training to employees and managers. Encouraging honest discussions about mental health can help create an atmosphere where seeking help is seen as a sign of strength rather than weakness.
Employers should strive to design jobs that consider the mental well-being of employees. This includes manageable workloads, reasonable deadlines, control of work and the autonomy to make decisions. Furthermore, offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or flexible hours, can help employees manage their work-life balance more effectively.
Many organisations established already Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or provided access to mental health professionals can offer employees a confidential outlet for discussing their concerns and receiving guidance. These programs can play a crucial role in early intervention and prevention.
We must encourage employees to take breaks, use vacation time, and disconnect from work outside of working hours to help prevent burnout. This can be reinforced through company policies that prioritize employee well-being.
Providing training to managers and employees on recognizing the signs of mental health issues and how to provide appropriate support can contribute to a more compassionate and understanding work environment.
Managers can conduct regular one-on-one check-ins with their team members to discuss their workload, challenges, and well-being. This not only helps address potential issues but also shows that the organization values its employees' mental health.
If you are not confident dealing with this topic as a business leader, CXO or a senior HR person, you may ask for help or advise from a professional. The gains are incredible. This can make your company a healthier, happier, and more productive firm.