Dubai, United Arab Emirates: In a post-pandemic world, the conversation around mental health continues to expand and permeate into various parts of society, most importantly – the workplace. As Mental Health Awareness Month kicks off from 1 to 31 May in the UAE and around the world, workplace mental wellbeing platform Plumm, which recently launched in the UAE, has released a whitepaper indicating the clear links between mental and physical health. 

The report findings highlight that the connection between mental and physical health is often misunderstood, however the two coexist. Three key mental health factors that have been highlighted as having an intrinsic link to physical health; these are chronic stress, depression, and burnout. The report demonstrates that neglecting mental wellbeing, particularly in these three areas, has a much more immediate effect on the body. 

Concerning manifestations of these mental health factors include prolonged chronic stress that can contribute to physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries, and can even result in brain changes that lead to mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and addiction. Burnout or the feeling of “vital exhaustion” increases a person’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease and other well-known risk factors including obesity, high cholesterol, and smoking. If unchecked, it can increase people’s likelihood of having a stroke or a heart attack. The physical effects of depression include headaches, fatigue, back pain, insomnia, heart disease and psychomotor activity changes. These somatic symptoms can significantly affect a person’s longevity and quality of life, and that is why it is crucial that they receive the help that they need to alleviate their depression. Thus, improving both their mental and physical health in the long run.

Such serious risks to one’s physical health have far-reaching effects in life including interpersonal relationships and occupational functioning. It poses a major threat to the overall productivity and output of any business, which can result in the loss of both profits and human capital. Burnout, chronic stress, and depression should, therefore, not be taken lightly, and deserve the necessary attention from companies and employers across the globe. 

Caileen Lubbe, a Research Psychologist at Plumm, shares her tips to improve mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace this Mental Health Awareness Month.

Highlighting the importance of overall wellbeing from the Plumm whitepaper, are the findings from the recent 360° wellbeing study by global healthcare provider Cigna. According to the research, the UAE sees that the largest gap lies in mental health support – with 34% of UAE employees claiming to have a lack of support and 39% feeling they need access to resilience training for mental health.

The Cigna report also highlights that UAE residents are now more attuned to whole health, with people becoming more open to various elements of their health. The top focuses for residents were family health (81%), mental health and emotional wellbeing (78%), physical health (77%) and financial health (77%). A majority (72%) of the respondents also place high importance on having access to care, such as medical advice or treatment, home environment and living conditions (72%) as they work more from home, and work-life balance (73%). 

This data intrinsically links to the underlying message of Plumm’s whitepaper, that overall wellbeing should be a focus from a full perspective, including both mental and physical health. The two are connected and balance is key to a healthy life.

Plumm’s CEO and Founder, Dubai-raised Asim Amin said: “The two will always be intertwined, when the mind suffers, so does the body, and consequently personal and professional lives of individuals. At Plumm, we believe that everyone should be given the chance to improve or maintain mental and physical wellbeing, ensuring happier and healthier workspaces.”

About Plumm

Plumm is a workplace mental wellbeing platform that partners with progressive organisations to help build a more compassionate and productive workforce. Plumm’s mission is to make mental wellbeing a reality for every member of the global workforce. With over 150 accredited therapists and specialised coaches, its platform offers employees evidence-based care tailored to their needs while helping companies save money in engagement and healthcare costs. 

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