Bill Wilkerson, LL D. (Hon.) is Executive Chairman of Mental Health International and Founder/Chairman of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health.
Since 1998, the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health has pioneered the engagement of corporations in workplace mental health in Canada to combat the effects of mental disorders through business investments, human compassion and enlightened self-interest. Based on this experience, Bill was invited to build and chair the TARGET campaign.
Breakthrough In Mental Health Headed Our Way
One has 325 years of history in banking. A second has 29 million customers. A third employs 480,000 employees in 220 countries. A fourth reaches 2 billion consumers daily.
Executives from these and 11 other major European-based corporations have been on TARGET’s advisory committee since 2013 – major employers who put mental health on their own workplace map as well as that of Europe itself.
A defining feature of the initiative we called ‘TARGET The Impact of Depression in the Workplace,’ was the shared experience of these and dozens of other employers in more than dozen European capitals to advance mental health in the workplace.
We are enormously grateful to all, including the employees of these organizations who took part in our roundtables and our annual European Business Leadership Forum.
The notes that follow summarize the TARGET campaign, ideas that emerged and a decisive shift in Europe toward a broad acceptance of mental health as a bona fide employer priority and ingredient of business success.
I am delighted to report that this trend is awakening across many parts of the world, and with it, new hope among employees and families who face the effects – sometimes disabling, potentially deadly – of disorders such as depression.
I am concluding this stage – and my chairmanship – of the TARGET campaign.
One follow-on initiative might be an ‘Employer Learning Exchange on Workplace Mental Health.’ We developed such a concept in partnership with experts from several fields. Our thanks to Susan Scott-Parker of Business Disability International.
Also, we will draw on TARGET’s experience in 2018 as we report on ‘The Breakthrough” in international mental health that we see headed our way.
Best to all,
Bill Wilkerson, LL D. (Hon)
Executive Chairman, Mental Health International
- Put in motion employer-to-employer communications across borders in Europe, attracting media coverage and engaging employers with more than a million employees.
- Introduced CEO Leadership Guidelines for Mental Health, Wellbeing and Productivity – now being disseminated across the international business world.
- Designed and staged annual European Business Leadership Forum on Mental Health in the Workplace hosted by major corporations and Canadian diplomats in 2014/2015/2016.
- Created special report on case studies demonstrating innovative mental health programs launched by major employers in Europe including Unilever, Royal Mail, Deutsche Post, DHL, Lundbeck, Barclays and British Telecom.
- Reached across Europe with the TARGET message to major employers and business groups in Athens, Frankfurt, (European Central Bank top management), Porto, Rome, Madrid, Brussels, Copenhagen, London and Bruges.
- Engaged with World Economic Forum, World Health Organization, European Commission and the ILO on mental health policy and initiatives from a business and economic perspective.
- Published scientific evidence of the clinical links between depression and other chronic disorders. Heightening the risks of sudden death in the case of cardiovascular disease.
- This and allied information is now available at mentalhealthinternational.ca.