Mental Health at work. The role of technology

In 2019, the World Health Organization called employee burnout a medical condition, noting that it is caused by chronic stress in the workplace.

Globally, more than 322 million people suffer from depression, which mainly affects working-age adults. Approximately 60 per cent of the world’s population has some form of employment or work activity and more than half of our conscious lives are spent in the workplace. An adverse work environment is a proven risk factor for depression, being the leading cause of sick leave and loss of productivity in most developed countries. In this context, companies and organisations are increasingly aware that they have a responsibility for the health of their employees.

While mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression have increased during the current pandemic, it is a reality that has been present in our society for some time and has been growing steadily in recent years. Although there is no official data on the psychological deterioration of workers, there is no doubt that COVID-19 is affecting the mental state of professionals. Fear of contagion, isolation, permanent connectivity and the economic crisis are some of the causes that are aggravating this important health problem.

In this scenario, technology plays a crucial role. On the one hand, there is a clear risk of an abusive use of technology, mainly due to teleworking, but also because in a context of restrictions on mobility and social distancing, leisure time linked to the consumption of audiovisual content, video games or social networks is increasing, to the detriment of outdoor activities, sports or simply social interaction.

However, technology can become a real ally in the management and especially in the prevention of this type of illness. The possibility of early detection of risk situations or simply offering tools that increase the resilience of workers will undoubtedly help to alleviate this important health problem.

At INSATI we have been working in this field for years, providing specialised healthcare research groups with all our experience in the field of MHealth, decision support systems (DSS) or IoT in the design of new solutions. We understand that the best way to address this important health issue requires a holistic approach, with intensive collaboration between the technology and medical sectors.

Cover image: WHO

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