Who We Are

 
 
 

The Roundtable was inspired by the findings of the Harvard School of Public Health in its 1996 landmark study “Global Burden of Disease” in which the growth of psychiatric illness as the leading source of human disability was vividly chronicled. Disability is a huge business issue and once recognized as such, the impact of mental health issues on business performance becomes readily apparent. From the Roundtable’s perspective, that is the resonant importance of the Burden of Disease analysis.

The Roundtable was formed in 1998. It is not a vehicle for fundraising or corporate advocacy. It is an instrument of information analysis and ideas concerning the linkage between business, the economy, mental health and work. The Roundtable consists of business, health and education leaders who have undersigned the proposition that mental health is a business and economic issue.

This proposition hinges on four salient facts drawn from Harvard and other studies:

  1. Mental health problems are driving disability rates within the North American labor force. This represents a significant business cost and deterrent to productivity.

  2. Depression is the leading source of disability in the world and as a percentage of the burden of disease, it is growing faster in the global population than cardiovascular disorders yet it remains grievously under-researched, detected, diagnosed or treated.

  3. The global information economy is, by definition, an economy of mental performance. This underscores mental health in the labor force as a critical determinant of output much like physical health was in the old industrial economy.

  4. Mental health is tied closely to a variety of bodily disorders – heart disease prominently among them – yet this information is neither widely known nor deployed in defense of employee and executive health.

In this context, the Roundtable is serving a number of goals and working objectives. This work has received an abundance of attention in the media, in health circles and in business quarters in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

For example:

The Roundtable – through its Chairman, Trilon Financial Chairman, Tim Price – last year in Washington received the first American Psychiatric Association inaugural award for “Workplace Leadership” in the advancement of mental health.

Roundtable CEO Bill Wilkerson and co-author Dr. Edgardo Perez have been acknowledged by the World Federation for Mental Health for the “landmark” book “MINDSETS: Mental Health – The Ultimate Productivity Weapon” – now entering its second printing.

The Employee Assistance Society of America this fall reprinted a summary of the Roundtable’s commentary on the economic impact of mental health.

The Roundtable has a wide-ranging slate of activities in place for 2000-2001 in support of the following goals and working objectives:

Goals:

  • To define the broad strategic interests of business in mental health issues within the economy of mental performance;
  • To define the global economic and competitive implications of current trends in the growth of depression;
  • To arm business and labor with non-medical tools to help reverse present trends in the rise of depression and heart disease across a wide spectrum of the labor force;

Working Objectives:

  • To promote the early detection of depression, addiction and anxiety disorders as a principal means to reduce productivity losses and promote sustainable business performance;
  • To identify and communicate business practices which promote mental well-being at work including a focus on organizational health issues;
  • To calculate and communicate incentives to simulate business investment in mental health and design certain “products and services” to help facilitate a return on these investments.