Mental illness used to be talked about in hushed voices behind closed doors. It was stigmatized and relegated to fringe conversations. The alarming rise in mental health issues has brought the topic of mental health and overall wellness from the fringes into the mainstream. But we still have work to do around destigmatizing it.
Nearly one in five U.S. adults (44.7 million people) lives with a mental illness. Of those, an estimated 56% don’t receive treatment. People who suffer from mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, often try to manage alone.
Coworking and Wellness
The coworking movement, at large, is making remarkable strides in supporting wellness and connection. Shared workspaces around the world prioritize well-being for members, through fitness programs, on-site yoga, meditation rooms, nap pods, wellness challenges, work-life balance programming and more. Steve King from Emergent Research argues that reducing loneliness is the new value proposition of coworking.
Mental Wellness in Shared Workspaces
There’s a growing notion in our industry that coworking spaces should contribute to our well-being—not just give us a place to work. Coworking is already ahead of traditional workplaces when it comes to member happiness and well-being.
Surveys of coworking space members found that 83% of respondents are less lonely since joining a coworking space; 89% report that they are happier since joining a coworking space; and 79% said coworking has expanded their social networks.
The Power of the Global Workspace Network
We are, as an industry, working to dismantle loneliness, and the growing wellness trend is heartening. The global coworking network is uniquely positioned to respond to member needs. What would it look like if we put the power of our network behind addressing mental well-being? We could do something truly remarkable.
Moves are being made in that direction, with increased focus on wellness at industry conferences, breakout sessions, small industry events and in-space conversations. Space operators are taking mental health first-aid courses, the CheckYoMate movement reminds us to check in on one another, and there’s a growing awareness around destigmatizing mental illness in coworking spaces as part of our movement to dismantle loneliness. But we could be doing more.
World Mental Health Day
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The objective for the day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
As the website explains, World Mental Health Day “provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.”
So let’s talk about it. How do you address mental health in your space? How could members of the global coworking movement better harness the power of our network to bring more mental wellness to coworking? What mental health resources would you like to see, both in your own space and from the global coworking community? Contact us and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
by Cat Johnson, storyteller and content strategist for the coworking movement.
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