Minding mental resiliency | Octavio Peralta

RICHARD M. Caballero is a man on a mission.

Born in the Philippines, Richard is founder and CEO of Healthy Mind Solutions, a Canadian digital mental wellness company with a purpose to break the stigma of mental illness in the Philippines by providing research-based mental wellness solutions that are effective, accessible and affordable.

The Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE) had the opportunity to learn more about Healthy Mind Solutions and its web-based solution, MindWoRx, in Richard’s recent webinar entitled “Building a Mentally Resilient Workforce.” Here are the salient points during his session which may be relevant to associations, too:

1.  Definition. Mental resilience is the ability of an individual to adapt to hardships, stress, emotional difficulties and mental health adversities. Having a strong mental resilience can help protect an individual from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety and can handle day-to-day work stressors and pressures.

Being part of a mentally-resilient workforce, an employee can have these benefits: preventative, i.e., being able to adapt to life-changing events, to cope with turbulent times, to handle work pressures and to bounce back from hardships and tragedies; management, i.e., able to better handle, oversee and overcome mental illnesses; and productivity e.g., less likely to take time off due to mental health reasons.

For the employer, benefits include lower employee absences, increased employee productivity and lower employee turnover.

2.  Some statistics. Based on a survey, Filipino workers have been struggling: 13 percent file sick leaves due to mental health concerns; 23 percent want to quit their jobs due to stress and anxiety; 47 percent feel overworked; 46 percent cite financial pressures as the top source of distress; 35 percent are unproductive an average of two hours a day due to mental illness.

3.  Mental health challenges. These include societal stigma, accessibility and affordability. For fear of discrimination and potential loss of work associated with mental illness, employees are forced to suffer in silence and are not able to avail of help. In addition, available help is not enough as psychiatrists/psychologists and medical facilities are concentrated in highly urbanized cities. Compounding this is the fact that the cost therapy sessions with a psychologist is beyond the reach of most workers.

4.  Groups most affected. These include: (a) professionals working from home due to isolation from colleague and peers plus job and financial uncertainties that contribute to feelings of anxiety and over time, depression; (b) women balancing challenges of family life in a lockdown, combined with managing childcare and online schooling for their kids that are causing constant stress and anxiety; and, (c) youth suffering separation from friends, issues of online schooling as well as uncertainty of their future that are major anxiety and depression contributors.

5.  An online solution. MindWoRx is a web-based mental health platform to overcome anxiety and depression using the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) approach. It is anonymous, accessible 24×7 and affordable. MindWoRx is a comprehensive mental health solution for individuals, companies and medical professionals and uses an online mental health assessment tool, mental recovery and resiliency courses and a community support forum.

Mental illness is not a character flaw and is caused by genetic, biological, social and environmental factors. It is not caused by personal weakness and is not cured by personal strength. With appropriate treatment, many people can and do recover from mental illness.

Octavio Peralta is currently the executive director of the Global Compact Network Philippines and founder and volunteer CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, the “association of associations.” E-mail: bobby@pcaae.org.