It started with a day, World Mental Health day, on the 10th October, which started back in the 1990s, but it has now become a week, at least here in Belgium (the European version of Mental Health Week was back in May).
In Wallonia, we have la semaine de la sante mentale this week, coordinated by le Centre de référence en santé mentale (CRéSaM) and in Brussels, it is la Ligue Bruxelloise pour la Santé Mentale organising an agenda of activities.
One of the main events in Namur this year will be a big study day focussing on mental health and work. The aim of the week is to raise awareness, share information and explain to people where they can go for help.
Why should we shine a light on mental health and in particular in the context of work? The answer is burnout. Burnout figures are through the roof, and employers are finding it difficult to deal with – we know the statistics by heart by now: more people are on long-term sick leave than unemployed at the moment due to physical but also mental illness. The number of people on long-term sick leave due to burnout (and depression) have increased by 46% in the last five years. It is mostly women who are paying the price of our lack of focus on mental health as a key pillar of work and society.
Madame Papillon celebrated a full year of being an official association on 7th October. We are happy to be going into this mental health week continuing our programme of supporting women in burnout and contributing to mental wellbeing through creating spaces of solidarity for exchange and continued learning.