A Healthy Workforce 

Visual identity of Mental Health and Well-being Strategy

Working within the United Nations system can provide us with a strong sense of purpose and opportunities for helping others. It can also be challenging.

In 2015, over 17,000 United Nations staff members across 11 United Nations entities completed the Global Well-Being survey. Approximately half of all United Nations staff members reported experiencing symptoms consistent with a mental health condition. This is greater than what is seen in the general population and staff who had worked at the UN longest were more likely to experience poor mental health.   

Doing our work well requires all of us to be giving the best of ourselves, while taking the best care we can of our colleagues, our families, the Organization and ourselves. 

 

What are we doing

The five-year United Nations workplace mental health strategy aims to:

1.  Create a workplace that enhances mental and physical health and wellbeing
2.  Develop, deliver and evaluate high-quality psychosocial services everywhere that UN staff work
3.  Welcome and support staff who live with mental health challenges
4.  Ensure sustainable funding for mental health and wellbeing services

It also aims to strengthen our individual knowledge, skills and behaviour with regard to:

  • Taking care of others – colleagues, family and friends 
  • Taking care of our own mental health 
  • Taking care of the people who look after the health of others 
  • Seeking help earlier, to obtain access to a range of evidence-based psychosocial support and interventions

The UN Workplace Mental Health and Well-being Strategy is led by a global governance body, the Implementation Board. The Implementation Board has representatives from UN System Organizations and key bodies such as Staff Federations and Representative Organizations, Medical Directors and Staff Counsellor Organizations. Achieving the goals of the strategy will require a sustained, collective effort over the coming five years. We all have a role to play to ensure we have a healthy workforce for a better world.

Where to go for support

Collage of UN work settings - board room meeting with Secretary-General, personnel providing water in field location, colleagues in conversation on an airplane and parents caring for an infant in rural tent.There are currently there are 131 counsellors employed in the UN agencies, funds and programmes. They deliver psychosocial and mental health services to staff and run psychosocial promotion and prevention programmes within the organisations they are working for. Staff/Stress Counsellors are distributed across 45 countries and in 58 different duty stations.

The UN Medical Services and Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services (UNOMS) also provide key elements of overall services to staff seeking advice, resolution of workplace difficulties, treatment, and support for mental health concerns. UN Medical Services has a key role in the medical, physical and psychological care of personnel in return to work programmes for those experiencing mental health problems.
 

To find help or talk to someone, please check the list of UN System Counsellors List.

Videos

Secretary-General António Guterres on the
Launch of the UN Workplace Health and
Well-Being Strategy

Launch of the UN System Workplace Mental
Health and Well-Being Strategy
 

(16 October 2018)


Assistant Secretary-General Fabrizio Hochschild on UN System Workplace Mental Health and Well-Being Strategy

Resources

News Stories

Important documents: