A Framework for Fostering Mental Health Resilience in the Workplace

Feb 23, 2024

This week’s bulletin has been provided by Resilience Forward, who discuss the advice that International SOS have given to support our colleagues’ positive wellbeing in the workplace and raising awareness on mental health.

In a global landscape in which there are ongoing poly- and perma-crises, the impact of these challenges on the mental health of employees has never been more significant. Here, International SOS provides a seven step framework for enhancing people-resilience in your organisation.


Mental health issues are a hidden crisis in their own right: the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone. Poor working environments, including discrimination and inequality, excessive workloads, low job control and job insecurity all pose a risk to mental health. Without effective support, mental illness can impact an individual’s capacity to work productively, absences and the ease with which they can retain or gain work.

The International SOS Assistance Centre has seen a 5% increase in the number of requests for assistance related to mental illness during the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

“We live in challenging times, with cost-of-living pressures worldwide, recovery from the pandemic and conflict in Europe against a backdrop of the climate crisis. In this context, mental health resilience has become a critical matter for organizations, public and private. Employees spend one-third of their lives at work – which means employers are uniquely positioned to support employees’ mental health, both by avoiding harm and promoting comprehensive benefits that are inclusive and easy to navigate.”

Dr Oliver Harrison, CEO of Koa Health, a leading global provider of digital-first mental healthcare.

A seven step framework for enhancing people-resilience in your organisation

The International SOS framework for organisations to safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of their employees is as follows:

  • Foster a supportive work culture and ensure leadership commitment: create a workplace culture and environment that prioritises and encourages open dialogue on mental health. Integrate mental health initiatives into relevant policies and practices that support it.
  • Promote mental health awareness: implement comprehensive mental health awareness campaigns to reduce stigma and encourage open dialogue.
  • Provide accessible resources: ensure employees have a toolkit of mental health resources at their fingertips, from counselling to self-guidance materials.
  • Adapt to individual needs: offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate individual needs and reduce work-related stress.
  • Training and education: roll out mental health training, enabling everyone to spot, understand and assist with mental health challenges.
  • Monitor and assess: seek feedback and continuously monitor the mental health of employees through surveys and assessments to adapt programmes as needed.
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): provide EAPs that offer confidential counselling and support services to employees. Digitally enabled mental health care, such as the Koa Foundations Wellbeing App, allows organisations to maximise EAP and existing services uptake and widen access to care while containing or significantly reducing costs.

Click here to read the original bulletin.

Sign-up to our Newsletter

"*" indicates required fields