What does that mean exactly for the future workplace and how can companies attract new talent by having a proactive and solution-oriented attitude towards mental health?
Watch our interview with Subhi Irshed, Founder and Executive Director at Millennial Mental Wellbeing, where we talk about the importance of mental health for the Millennial generations (people born between 1981-1998) and the taboo of mental health as a topic. You can also read our blog post from the interview below.
What is Millennial Mental Wellbeing and why was it started?
Millennial Mental Wellbeing is a nonprofit startup, founded by Millennials for Millennials. Our vision is to create a world where Millennial mental wellbeing is valued, promoted and encouraged in all aspects of life. To realise this Millennial Mental Wellbeing wants to increase awareness around the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace by providing tools and programs that enable Millennials to thrive at work.
Subhi then explains why Millennial Mental Wellbeing was started:
“We realised through personal experience and extensive research that the current mental health toolbox is designed for yesterday’s world and generations. So there are no tools out there to help Millennials cope with our mental wellbeing challenges and thrive in the present connected world.”
How do you plan to realise your organisation's mission and why target workplaces?
“We want to reach as many Millennials as possible through an effective channel and that is where the workplace comes in”, Subhi says.
By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be Millennials, and since people spend around 1/3 of their lifetime at work, this is where changes can have a real impact. Studies also show that the workplace is an important contributor to mental health challenges, making this an even more relevant place to reach and assist Millennials.
Also, for companies to be competitive when attracting young talent and keeping their employees, it becomes more necessary to understand Millennials and accommodate the needs of this workforce group.
“Millennials are called the therapy generation”, Subhi says smiling.
Being part of that generation himself, he understands that for Millennials it is important to have their opinion valued and to address their feelings and emotions.
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with technology, which has impacted their decision making processes. They are very purpose and value driven. They will not work for a company that does not resonate with their identity and values. Millennials value job satisfaction over monetary satisfaction and they thrive with flexibility. Professional and personal development is non-negotiable.
By having a mental health programme, employers can become more interesting for Millennials, who will get the support they need and in return have a happier and more productive work life. The mental wellbeing programme is also a preventative tool to help reduce company costs around sick days related to e.g. stress and burnout.
There's still a lot of stigma and taboo about mental health, why do you think that is?
Subhi believes that one reason is that people are better at articulating and talking about tangible things like physical health challenges. However, mental health challenges can be harder to put into words because they are often more intangible.
By increasing awareness and addressing the topic of mental health, Millennial Mental Wellbeing wants to help normalise the subject and establish a more tangible language around it. Here workplaces can really help by advocating for dialogue and good mental health.
Subhi points out the difference between mental health and mental illness; mental health being about sustaining one’s well-being to ultimately reduce the risk of mental illness. Awareness about mental health is essential in these times, where people navigate between the online/offline world and personalities, while coping with challenges such as ‘being online 24/7’ or ‘being available at work 24/7’.
Everyone must balance their mental health and sometimes struggle to bounce back, when times are hard. Anneli Bartholday from Simply Broken points out that according to statistics1, 25-40% of all people will have mental health challenges during their lives, but when reflecting on the taboo of the topic there is a good chance that these numbers are much higher.
So, let us all acknowledge and be part of the mental health discussion. Please let us know your thoughts below.
Visit their campaign ‘Millennials of the Connected World‘ to share your story of coping with online/offline presence and mental wellbeing, or get inspired by others.
Companies interested in a partnership programme with Millennial Mental Wellbeing can contact Subhi Irshed at firstname.lastname@example.org