May 16, 2021

Mental Health Awareness Month: Closing the Gaps

mental health
McKinsey
workplace mental health
mental health awareness month
2 min
It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. We take a look at some stats and what companies can do to help close the gaps and end the stigma.

The impacts of the global pandemic have forced companies to pay special attention to the issues of mental health. Unfortunately, however, receiving treatment for behavioural health issues remains much too difficult, and the stigma remains. 

From McKinsey, a 2018 survey co-sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health reported that 42 per cent of respondents cited cost and poor insurance coverage as key barriers to accessing mental healthcare, with one in four people reporting having to choose between obtaining mental health treatment and paying for necessities. 

A study of more than 36,000 people found 62 per cent of people with mood disorders, 76 per cent of people with anxiety disorders, and 81 per cent of people with substance use disorders do not receive treatment due to cost, coverage, and the social stigma still associated with mental and substance use disorders.

Depression increases the risk of suicide, about 60 per cent of people who die by suicide have had a mood disorder. And so it should not surprise us to see the rate of suicide continue to climb. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate has increased about 35 per cent between 1999 and 2018. Growing at a rate of approximately 2 per cent per year since 2006, suicide is now the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

Closing the Mental Health Support Gaps

Using data from two national surveys run by McKinsey’s Center for Societal Benefit through Healthcare in late 2020, McKinsey found that there is continued opportunity for employers to support workforce mental health by taking five actions: 

  • Make mental wellness a priority
  • Enhance available mental health support
  • Communicate available mental health support
  • Create an inclusive work culture
  • Measure and meet the need

Starting the Conversation

In order to help end the stigma and start the conversation, The Center for Workplace Mental Health, suggests sharing these five fast facts about mental health with your employees to start the conversation:

  • 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health condition, yet less than half receive care.
  • Within the global workforce, around 3 in 10 employees experience severe stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Mental health conditions are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  • People with other chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for depression and vice versa.
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

 

WEF gathered the thoughts of 6 global employers on how to improve workplace mental health

HR Exchange Network shares 6 ways for employers to celebrate mental health month

 

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Jun 15, 2021

Germany Adopts Revolutionary Supply Chain Human Rights Laws

ESG
DaimlerAG
supplychain
Germany
4 min
Supply chain legislation makes German multinational corporations legally responsible for human rights and environmental abuses across global supply chains

While the title states that Germany’s newly adopted that targets human rights abuse across global supply chains is “revolutionary” ─ which it is ─, it certainly shouldn’t be. But nonetheless, today, on June 11th, 2021, the German Parliament has ushered in a long-awaited shift to mandatory company compliance rules. After months of negotiation, the German lawmakers finally pushed it over the finish line within the final days of the current legislative period. The bill will see German multinational corporations held legally responsible for any human rights or environmental abuses found across their global supply chains. 

“The German government has taken a critical step to ensure that companies operate responsibly,” said Juliane Kippenberg, associate director, children's rights division, at Human Rights Watch. “Respect for human rights in global supply chains is not something that should be optional.”

This news comes at a time when global corporations are already being pushed towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance, with a massive drive to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions from their supply chain operations and a concerted effort to avoid suppliers and manufacturers that do not meet the standards that industry-leading companies are now expected to meet. 

Who will the new law affect?

With Germany’s new legislation, organisations that fail to meet the rules and regulations could be forced to pay fines potentially equivalent to 2% of their annual global turnover. However, it isn’t applicable to all.

According to Reuters, under the act, companies above a certain size will be forced to establish set due diligence procedures that prevent the abuses; from 2023, only companies with more than 3,000 employees in Germany will be affected. From 2024, the rules will expand to companies with more than 1,000 employees. 

Statistics from within the country suggest that the first stage of this regulation rollout will affect 900 companies, while the second stage will put 4,800 companies under the spotlight. The bill will also enable the government to temporarily exclude from public tenders companies that receive fines in excess of €175,000. 

“Incalculable risks arise for companies,” said Joachim Lang, general manager at the Federation of German Industry. A word of warning from a respected leader, at a time when industry lobby groups and wholesale businesses fear that the new law increases bureaucracy and suggest that price rises may be inbound. 

The Take of German Giants

After looking at the incoming legislation, Daimler AG, known more commonly as the automotive giant Mercedes-Benz, a company which, should there happen to be any ESG-compliance issues along its multinational supply chain, would pay a hefty fee, is welcoming of the push for change but hesitant about certain aspects of the bill. 

“Daimler's position is: The respect for human rights is a central aspect of our sustainable business strategy. We, therefore, welcome the progress made on the Supply Chain Act. Although the regulations are very ambitious, the proposed legislation has a sound approach overall. It is based on internationally recognised human rights and on international agreements. And it gives companies more legal certainty in an area that has so far only been partially regulated.

Supply chains are not "chains" but rather exceedingly complex networks: Daimler alone has over 60,000 direct suppliers - and many more sub-suppliers. For this reason, we also consider the proposed risk-based gradual model to be sensible. The responsibility of the companies lies primarily in their own business area and with their direct suppliers. Companies must then take action in the deeper supply chain if there are concrete indications of human rights violations. Daimler AG already does that today. 

Even though we support the proposed legislation in principle, we consider some aspects to be critical, e.g. the planned fines of up to 2% of the average annual turnover. Instead of threats of sanctions, we consider concrete measures, which companies must take in the event of deficits, to be more expedient. In addition, certain wordings are still vague and leave room for interpretation. Terms such as, e.g. "fair standard of living" should be phrased precisely in order to create legal certainty. Furthermore, documentation and reporting requirements should not lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and should be harmonised with existing rules. On the one hand, this does not help the people on the ground, and on the other hand, it puts a burden on the companies – and the implementation can pose substantial challenges for smaller companies in particular.”

This law is arguably one of the most important developments in the supply chain space so far this year. But it must be remembered that changes do not and will not happen at the push of a button and that democratic principles should be applied to the discussion prior to enshrining legislation into tablature. Environmental and human rights advocacy is a hike, not a brisk walk around the park ─ so, for German companies, it’s time to get their boots on the ground and start assessing their global, interconnected supply chain operations. And, hopefully, they’ll set a stellar example for the rest of us.

 

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