The future rests on healthy minds

by Sir Ian Cheshire

Chair, The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health

Monday, 25th January, 2021

Today we launch The Global Business Collaboration for Better Workplace Mental Health in a resolute bid to change the face of mental health at work.

The global pandemic has changed the world as we know it, but as well as the obvious impact on worldwide health, economies and employment, a more insidious force has been at work: the creeping complexities of mental illness.

Many people are developing a mental health condition for the first time; while those with a history of mental illness continue to struggle in a world that can be ill-suited to supporting mental health – including in the workplace.

Despite some progress in recent years, there’s still a huge amount of stigma around mental health at work. It’s a fact that has no place in our modern world, and we are here to overcome this in the workplace.

But we also recognise that employers need help too: with a lack of evidence on the best methods for employers to use in supporting their people, no one business has all the answers.

A time for universal change

The Global Business Collaborative for Better Workplace Mental Health is the first business-led initiative of its kind designed to advocate for – and accelerate – positive change for mental health in the workplace on a global basis.

By creating a platform for collaboration, we plan to unite businesses around the world and encourage visionary leaders to share best practice in a global movement for better mental health.

We will utilise a diverse set of perspectives from businesses, wellness experts, existing mental health alliances, and not-for-profit organisations to create a comprehensive and powerful alliance focused on bringing about tangible change when it comes to mental health in the workplace.

Led by our Founding Partners – Unilever, Deloitte, HSBC, BHP, Salesforce and Clifford Chance –  our vision is a world where all workplace leaders commit to taking evidence-based action on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, enabling their workforce to thrive.

But why does it matter?

The real cost of poor mental health support

Even before the pandemic, workplace stigma associated with mental health was a challenge for employers and employees alike, according to the Deloitte Global 2020 Millennial Survey.

Most organisations are acutely aware that poor mental health has a profoundly negative effect on a workplace, but it’s sobering to see the stats in black and white:

  • Two of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year1
  • 12 billion days are lost each year to depression and anxiety alone1
  • 48% of Gen Zs and 44% of millennials feel anxious or stressed all or most of the time2

As well as significantly damaging workplace wellbeing, impacting on motivation, and making engagement levels plummet, poor workplace mental health can impact employees health, and make them deeply unhappy. And that’s not a world we want for anyone.  

That’s why we are calling on visionary business leaders from around the world to sign the Leadership Pledge, and join us in making history.

Pledging for a better world

We want to make improving mental health in the workplace a priority for leaders all over the globe; to unite organisations in sharing best practice.

That means every leader, in every country, across every industry committing to promoting an open culture around mental health; eliminating the dangerous stigma that still surrounds mental illness; developing a practical action plan to support good mental health; empowering people to support themselves and one another, and having the right resources available, whenever they are needed.

By signing the Pledge, leaders can play their part not only in tackling mental health in their own workplace but also in reducing stigma in their local communities – improving the lives of employees, families, and friends.  

1 Scaling-up treatment of depression and anxiety: a global return on investment analysis, Lancet Psychiatry 2016.
2 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020.


Together, we can make a real difference. Learn more now.