The impact of climate change and global warming on mental health is just beginning to be understood and researched, along with the demand it will create for mental wellbeing services. Peer-reviewed academic papers have been published on a broad set of issues, ranging from the increase in farmer suicides in India that correlates with the rise in crop-scorching heat, to the increase in mental-health conditions throughout the Western world as average temperatures rise and storms intensify. Some scientists predict that increasing temperatures and large-scale natural disasters will trigger or amplify a new mental health epidemic with high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.
The sense of dislocation that comes with unusual weather events becoming the norm and altering our ecosystems is captured in the concept of solastalgia – a word coined by Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht. ‘Solas’ comes from the English word ‘solace’, itself from a Latin root meaning comfort in the face of distressing forces. There’s also a reference to the Latin word ‘solus’, which has various connotations such as desolation, abandonment and loneliness. The last component, ‘algia’, is from the Greek root meaning pain and suffering.
Solastalgia will be mentioned more frequently as climate change and global warming increasingly affect communities. Those who witness the destruction of their home environment in the case of hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters will be particularly susceptible. For companies that connect with nature and provide mental wellbeing services the trauma of destruction will prove an opportunity – albeit one we would all rather didn’t exist.
“Solastalgia will be mentioned more frequently as climate change and global warming increasingly affect communities.”
Thierry Malleret, Managing partner Well Intelligence
BIO-HACKING: BE YOUR BEST SELF
Few beyond wellness professionals and hardcore health enthusiasts have heard the term bio-hacking, but it’s a concept many would relate to. Beginning with the end in mind, bio-hacking fast-tracks optimal human health and performance. It combines science, biology and individual experimentation through a systems-based approach that helps the individual to be the best version of themselves – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“Bio-hacking…combines science, biology and individual experimentation”
Extreme examples include technology being inserted beneath the skin (hence the bio-hack term) to literally short-circuit our body’s systems into better performance. Highly accessible instances include food rich in nutrition and how we consume it; sleep quantity and quality; and specific exercise and daily practices that make us feel happier. In the middle ground are more specialised practices and services, such as cryotherapy, intravenous vitamin infusions, and diagnostic methods such as the technology created by Chronomics. This ‘new to the market’ epigenetics system epitomises the bio-hacking principles by focusing on how your environment and lifestyle affect your health and in particular, your genetic expression.
Bio-hacking concepts offer a distinct option for hotel or venue wellness provision, a market where it’s important to create an offering that truly resonates. In hotel spas, the ‘treatment rooms only’ model can be the least effective business generator unless it is coupled with an evocative concept. Another example: Cloud Twelve, a newly opened private family membership club in London, is one of the first to cater to an intergenerational audience alongside a comprehensive wellness clinic – a model to watch.
Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence
CITY CHARTER SHOWS THE WAY
The Mindful Business Charter is the latest initiative designed to promote improved wellbeing and better mental health among some of the UK’s highest paid professionals. The newly-launched programme was developed by Barclays, alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard, in an unprecedented alliance comprising three of the UK’s biggest banks and eight top City of London law firms.
Its agenda is to actively reduce the conditioned and often destructive work patterns that can trigger mental health issues. Each of the signatories has committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks. Performance against these principles will be monitored as part of relationship review meetings.
“Each of the signatories has committed to a set of principles centred on improved communication, respect for rest periods and considerate delegation of tasks”
The City has a demonstrable need to address wellbeing, with hours often unpredictable and workers frequently expected to put in 90-hour plus weeks. The opportunity for wellbeing-related business to intervene and provide lifestyle options and programming (such as bio-hacking!) will gain pace ¬– this is one part of the workplace segment where money tends to be less of an obstacle.
With the Health and Safety Executive reporting that 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK owing to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016-17, such programmes will continue to proliferate across the workplace.