Mental illness epidemic sparks tech debate

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Health-tech leaders are plotting new ways to tackle mental illness in tech, with health problems in the industry far above the national average.

According to figures released earlier this year, around 52 per cent of tech workers will experience depression or anxiety - significantly above the average across the whole population.

In advance of World Mental Health Day, health-tech leaders are planning to meet in London to consider what action can be taken to ease the epidemic.

Panelists at the event, convened by 360Leaders, include Stephen Bourke, co-founder of startup Echo, and James McErlean, general manager at popular mindfulness app Headspace.

The event is intended to help leaders better understand how mental health issues affect employees, and how they can use tech to drive change for both workers and businesses.

360Leaders' Catherine de la Poer, who will chair the debate, said: “While there is greater awareness of the importance in addressing mental health concerns among employees, there remains a degree of resistance within many organisations throughout the tech sector.

“There are two clear reasons for this. Firstly, there is the generational question. Those leaders who are nearing the close of their careers were very much brought up with the mindset of keeping quiet – the old 'just get on with it' attitude.

“Those at the other end of the age scale, millennials, have an altogether different approach. This group of workers are now entering management and leadership roles and very much adhere to the 'a problem shared is a problem halved' mentality. 

“The second key issue is a lack of real understanding not only of the business benefits to be gained by having a supportive workplace culture, but how to actually create and maintain one in the first place. It is these two areas that this event will seek to address and provide tech leaders with insights that they can implement within their own organisations.”

The event, titled 'A Healthy Bottom Line: Re-thinking Corporate Health and Wellbeing', will be held in central London on 8 October. Tickets are available here.

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