Humans are at our best when we manage our resources carefully and recharge them on a regular basis — this is especially true for our mental health. When you look after yourself, you perform better and can better support the people you care about.

We are more than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the health and well-being of so many people around the world. Now, suffering from the war in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian disaster have catastrophic consequences for those affected directly. These consequences can be emotionally and physically draining for us as a community.

To acknowledge the impact, SAP has declared May 31 as SAP Mental Health Day 2022, an additional fully paid day off for all employees. SAP has long been a proponent of mental health initiatives, as demonstrated through the ongoing Are You OK? campaign.

Take Care of Yourself

With SAP Mental Health Day, the company is giving employees a day to take care of their own personal needs specifically, instead of their everyday work routines. Having every SAP employee worldwide take the same day off makes it easier to collectively “switch off.” This offers all employees an ideal opportunity to recharge, reflect, and take time to look after themselves.

Addressing employees, Sabine Bendiek, chief people and operating officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, wrote: “No matter how you spend your time on SAP Mental Health Day 2022, we ask you to disengage totally from work.” 

Employees are encouraged to use this day to ask themselves questions: “How am I doing right now?” “What am I concerned about?” This is an important element of self-care, because our mental and emotional well-being benefits from regular attention — not just as a reaction to devastating external events, but also to help us continue to do our best with joy and self-confidence in changing working environments.

Speak About Your Feelings and Get Help

According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has already had a dramatic impact on mental health. Cases of anxiety and depression have increased by more than 25% worldwide. The war in Ukraine poses an existential threat to millions and can trigger fear, exhaustion, and feelings of helplessness in many of us.

Natalie Lotzmann is chief medical officer and head of Global Health, Safety, & Well-Being, part of the new Future of Work organization at SAP. She explains: “We launched the Are You OK? initiative for mental health to put an end to the stigma of mental crises and encourage employees to seek help when they need it. The most important message is to show people that you are not alone. We want people to be aware of how they feel. We also want to encourage people to talk about how they’re doing — especially now. It’s not a sign of weakness; actually, it’s a sign of strength and courage, a vital step toward becoming more resilient.”

To be there for ourselves and others, we must start with our own physical and mental health. One day isn’t enough, but next week, SAP Mental Health Day 2022 will provide all SAP employees space for reflection and give stimulus for change.