Image: My Mind News / ISMA

Marking International Stress Awareness Week

International Stress Awareness week, now in its fifth year, was created in 2018 to raise awareness around stress and highlight the essential need to understand and promote stress prevention.

The International Stress Management Association

The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) is a registered charity, members association, and the lead professional body for the workplace and personal stress management. The ISMA supports good mental health, wellbeing, and performance globally, promoting knowledge and sharing best practices.

The ISMA has six branches worldwide and takes the global lead in recognizing and coordinating this significant week.

Working Together to Build Resilience and Reduce Stress

The theme of International Stress Awareness week this year is ‘Working Together to Build Resilience and Reduce Stress.’ This theme resonates with us all across all areas of our life but is becoming increasingly important.

As reported by My Mind News in October, the World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation joint briefing advised that 15% of the working population suffered from mental health conditions.  The cost to the global economy is 12 billion lost workdays and US$1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

Stress Awareness Summit

Stress Awareness Day was marked on Wednesday, 8th November 2022, and the ISMA celebrated this important day by hosting an online global stress and wellbeing summit. The agenda was action-packed, with 25 renowned and diverse speakers and panelists coming together to share and discuss this critical theme.

The keynote address ‘Beyond Stress Management:  Building Organisational Resilience and Wellbeing‘ was given by Professor Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

In this address, Professor Sir Cary Cooper presented ways businesses can enhance mental health and build employee resilience and the importance of having line managers with emotional intelligence. In giving his address, he used John Ruskin’s quote to summarise three measures that remind us of what is imperative from a personal and professional perspective –

“In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it, they must not do too much of it, and they must have a sense of success in it.”


Several experts joined several one-hour interactive and online panel discussions. One panel discussion and live event focused on ‘Strategies on Improving Health Management for Better Wellbeing’ moderated by Jessica Smyrl, Founder, YSM Solutions. The subjects discussed were –

  • The need to identify the challenges and opportunities offered by different collaborative health and wellbeing models;
  • The importance of engaging in dialogue with policymakers and opinion leaders to find out what potential there is for cooperation among them;
  • Possible solutions to inertia and ways of changing mindsets so that improvements in systems performance and quality can be delivered for better results in the future.


Work yet to do

There is no doubt that there is much work to be done to not only remove the stigma attached to mental health in the workplace but also to make the workplace psychologically safe.

Organizations must be proactive in their approach to mental health and employee wellbeing in their policies and daily working environment. Employee wellbeing is non-negotiable. Employers must ensure line managers are emotionally intelligent and undergo training to support their team.

This small but significant step will help ensure better wellbeing and increased productivity, allowing individuals to thrive and be more fulfilled in their everyday lives.


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