Spa Business issue 4 2020

Page 7

editor’s letter

Nurturing mental health

A

With so many people struggling with their mental health, new research reveals the full potential for spas to harness their expertise to support customers, staff and the wider community

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new study by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), Defining the Mental Wellness Economy, is the first to identify mental wellness as a fullyfledged market sector (see p90). The study, which has identified a global expenditure of US$121bn in four key mental health markets, describes mental wellness as being more than simply an absence of mental illness, saying, “It’s an internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect and function; it’s an active process that helps us to build resilience, grow and flourish.” The economic and social burden of mental ill health is predicted to reach US$1.6tn globally by 2030 according to the World Economic Forum, with this escalating mental health crisis being exacerbated by COVID-19. The report puts numbers to what many in the spa industry have been emphasising for some time – that consumers are prioritising wellness and are desperate for strategies and products to improve their mental health. We know we can help, as so many of the modalities we offer, from massage to multi-sensory experiences and exercise to sleep health, have been scientifically proven to benefit the mind. An in-depth 122-page white paper – Mental Wellness: Pathways, Evidence and Horizons – from the GWI’s Mental Wellness Initiative documents the most significant of these. However, if we are to support governments and societies in tackling these issues, we need to re-evaluate our approach to mental wellness provision as an industry. Careful consideration must be given to how spas position themselves. They can’t do the work of mental health professionals, but can partner with them to combine their expertise with what the industry does so well – create safe, healing spaces

Spas can help meet the growing demand for mental health support

Mental health first aider training is now widely accessible and a cost-effective starting point and deliver customer engagement, accessibility, calming environments and professional services. Mental health first aider training is now widely available and a cost-effective starting point. Spa therapists can be trained to spot common symptoms and act to support both customers and co-workers. If spas are to make a difference, they must also extend support as widely as possible – not just to those who can afford it. Forming relationships with charities and creating outreach programmes, in-person and online, are two ways in which we can widen our influence and be more useful. l

Katie Barnes, editor @SpaBusinessKB

Contact Spa Business: +44 (0) 1462 431385 theteam@spabusiness.com

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