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Psychiatrists urge more investment on mental health in workplace

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As part of efforts to improve mental health in workplaces, psychiatrists have urged employers of labour both private and government institutions to start spending resources on emotional and social wellbeing of employees in workplace.

The psychiatrists also advised against stigmatisation of people diagnosed with mental illness, or look down on them but they deserve adequate care and specialist care and attention.

A consultant psychiatrist and Fellow of the College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), Dr. Olufemi Olugbile, at an event to mark the 110 years Anniversary of Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, and the World Health Mental Day, held in the hospital premises, said that one in every five people in the society is experiencing mental illness and there is need for employers of labour to provide mental health in workplace.

The lecture is titled “Mental health in workplace.” Olugbile noted that workers spend most of their time in workplace therefore, provision of mental health would help them to cope with the normal stresses of workplace, also work productively and fruitfully, and able to make a contribution to his or her organisation.

“Workplace place is a very critical place because there is sickness in every individual because of this there is a lot absenteeism and there is also workers who are not productive enough because of one sickness or the other. Employers should understand that they could not run away from this responsibility but try to provide mental health in workplace. Any organization providing mental health in workplace will not see it as waste of resource because there will be an improvement, workers will be more productive.”

The Medical Director of Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Oluwayemi Ogun, said work is good for mental health but a good working environment and one that seek to support people with mental health challenges will an harmonious working relationship in the workplace and also lead to improve performance and productivity of the organisation. She noted that employers indeed have a vital role to play in ensuring the mental status improvement of the workers in the workplace.

“The hospital has devoted itself to mental health and also join forces with advocacy groups in championing the right and privileges of those challenged by mental illness”.

Ogun stated that choice of theme for this year World Mental Health Day would have come at a more appropriate time than now when the twin forces of economic global melt down and uncertain political climates have led to non performance of most organisations.

She said: “The resultant effect of these is poor organisational policy frame work to protect the right and privileges of to employees. This has led to employees exploitation, buying and poor welfare package for the workers. The employees are made to bear the brunt of the economic reality and political uncertainties. It is therefore, a common place to find cases of mental challenges on the increase in the workplace.”

The psychiatrist added: “According to the World Health Organisation, globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression and anxiety.”



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