Winter 2023 Newsletter
Matine’s Journey to the Founding of The United Project
Imagine you are a high-flying executive in a prominent corporation, flying from country to country for important meetings, making strategic decisions that could affect many lives, and working long hours to achieve the organisation’s aims and goals. But then it all comes to a sudden halt – your partner decides to leave, or a close family member passes away, or you are diagnosed with a mental or physical health difficulty. What happens next? Sometimes, people can go on. For others, it can be difficult to retain a sense of self and find meaning when such an event occurs.
Matine Rahmani found himself in this situation in 2015 – his rewarding career in consulting ended due to a diagnosis of treatment-resistant chronic major depression. Despite this challenge, Matine co-founded The United Project, a registered charitable foundation and non-profit to address the rise in mental illness in workplace and team environments. The goal of The United Project is to reduce the incidence and severity of mental illness and to reduce the suicide rate worldwide.
To this end, The United Project has been founded on four pillars: the United Pledge, the United Cloud, United Training, and United Giving. In particular, the United Giving program has committed to donating 80% of net profits to frontline mental health organisations and the remaining 20% to mental health research and development partners. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the ongoing work and progress of The United Project, please go here to make a donation. Thank you!
Should Organisations Commit to Improving Mental Ill-Health in the Workplace?
Almost 60% of the global population is employed, and 15% of working-age adults (15-64 years of age) live with a mental disorder. Globally, about 84% of suicides occur in the working-age population, and for every adult who has taken their own life, there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental disorders and are frequently experienced by working adults. An estimated 5% of the world’s adult population suffers from depression, and 3.6% of the global adult population has an anxiety disorder.
Every person has the right to a safe and healthy work environment. A good work environment provides supportive measures which give people: a living wage; self-confidence, purpose, and achievement; positive relationships and inclusion; and routine and structure, amongst other benefits. However, a poor work environment may not only lead to mental ill-health in employees, but can also reduce motivation, productivity, and engagement; increase physical illness, absenteeism, and presenteeism; and reduce profits.
So what can organisations do to address mental ill-health in the workplace? The first of The United Project’s pillars is the United Pledge which asks governance boards and leadership teams to commit to a program of systematic change across their organisations. These changes aim to deliver a workplace in which all staff at all levels feel safe and supported and can thrive. The United Pledge is poised for its 2023 launch, so if you are interested you can read more about it here and register your interest here.
The Psychologically Healthy Workplace
Around the world, the average work week can range from less than 40 hours per week to closer to 50 hours a week, a significant proportion of our lives. If the time at work leaves us feeling unhappy, upset, anxious, or depressed, this can be detrimental to our physical and mental health and to organisational productivity. A work environment that is psychologically healthy is one that focuses not only on the bottom line but also on people’s health and well-being.
A psychologically healthy workplace means not only attending to people’s well-being and organisational performance but also working towards the best outcomes possible for all those involved. This includes employees and leaders, but also the owners or shareholders of the organisation, as well as the community in which it is embedded. A psychologically healthy workplace helps the people working in the organisation as individuals, as well as helping the group to thrive.
The United Cloud is an enterprise solution that can help make your workplace more psychologically healthy by using predictive analytics to detect negative changes in the mental well-being of people. Support and interventions may then be proactively initiated for identified individuals privately and confidentially. The data collected by the United Cloud is gathered from multiple existing platforms within an organisation in a secure and ethical manner in order to protect the rights of the individual to privacy. You can read more about the United Cloud here, or contact us to register your interest.
Written by Carolyn Lee