when going to work is the key to mental well-being


Stress is the cause of more than 50% of absenteeism at work. A stress that goes beyond the traffic jams of each day, the postulates accumulated with unanswered calls and tasks that are never crossed out on the agenda. This is an other story. The one who paralyzes everything. It is a debilitating stress that leads those who suffer from it to the gates of an abyss from which they know neither how they entered nor how to exit. This is the story of Javier Herrera.

Javier was always clear about what he wanted to be: a firefighter. He got it. However, two years after getting a permanent job, a stress-induced mental illness kicked in and everything turned around. It was more than just a pothole that caused him to try his life twice. To reverse the freefall in which it had been installed, the work was part of the exit. A reinvented outing, yes, and guided thanks to the Mental Health line of the Incorpora program of the “la Caixa” Foundation.

Stress is the cause of more than 50% of absenteeism at work

This is a program which, since its launch in 2006, aims to support and train vulnerable people, to recognize their potential and to prepare them to enter the labor market. One of the areas of work is mental health, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year since its creation and has carried out more than 17,000 internships with a personalized course.

Because, despite prejudice and discrimination, having a work routine makes it easier to structure your life project and gives you an active role in society, increasing your self-esteem and well-being. This is why when a person cannot go to work, the balance of his mental health is dangerously shaken.

a common story

Javier’s story can be, as he himself shares, “anyone’s story”. In fact, it happens more often than one might imagine. In Europe, 27% of the adult population is affected by mental health problems. That’s 93 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2020, depression was the second leading cause of disability worldwide, with an associated economic cost estimated at €240 billion per year.

25% of European citizens will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime

The future is not encouraging – 25% of EU citizens will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime – so the development of specific resources and tools for this group in the workplace is needed more than ever. . In fact, when we talk about mental illness, we are dealing with one of the population groups with the highest unemployment rate, a reality that the Incorpora program of the “la Caixa” Foundation wants to reverse.

Work as a vital axis

Its objective is to facilitate the employment of these people, providing the necessary support both to the company, to the professionals involved and to the person, fighting against the stigma that exists regarding mental health problems at work. Because employment, as they describe in the program, facilitates social recognition, encourages independent living, and contributes to well-being and health, and people with mental health issues are no exception.

“Work makes you feel better, it integrates you into society. They can save your life in so many ways and in such subtle ways,” says Javier. For him and for thousands of other beneficiaries of the program, work is one of these “paths”. Ordinary people with ordinary jobs who, due to a mental disorder or mental illness, once felt they couldn’t. Today they get it again thanks to Red Incorpora and their experience and that of other users has also shaped the documentary podcast ‘Diarios Incorpora, one step every day’.

Javier is one of the beneficiaries of the mental health line of the Foundation's Incorpora program

Javier is one of the beneficiaries of the Mental Health line of the Incorpora program of the “la Caixa” Foundation.

This is a series of episodes that deal with the importance of employment for people who, like Javier, have suffered from a mental health problem or disorder. Testimonies that with courage and all the professional support provided by the Incorpora program, they have been able to move forward thanks to the autonomy and confidence that daily work gives them. A podcast produced by the Incorpora program of the “la Caixa” Foundation and commented by Manuel Jabois.

see, understand, act

El programa de la Fundación ”la Caixa” también pone el foco en las empresas, no solo para ayudarlas a promoter la contratación de personas con problems de salud mental, sino para hacerlas más conscious de los psicosociales riesgos que pueden llegar a generarse en los teams of work. Because understanding what happens and what happens when the company decides to act is the first step and it has a positive effect, both on the worker and on the company and society.

The benefit is threefold. In doing so, they facilitate the normalization of the employment situation of these people, improve their quality of life and contribute to putting an end to the social prejudices that exist against them, while promoting diversity in the workplace. On the contrary, not knowing the risks and not acting on them has economic, social and of course human repercussions.

The Incorpora Mental Health Technical Office for companies and professionals promotes mental health in the business community

The Incorpora Mental Health Technical Office for companies and professionals promotes mental health in the business community

For this reason, the Incorpora program is not just for people with mental health issues who want to return to work. An Incorpora Mental Health Technical Office has also been set up for companies and professionals who, in addition to promoting mental health in companies, need free advice and support resources for placement in order to carry out successfully the process of integrating these people.

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