The World Health Organisation acknowledges October 10, every year, as World Mental Health Day. Globally, mental health is severely overlooked. Many people hold the assumption that being mentally healthy means you do not have a mental health problem. Often, mental health is not regarded as a factor of good well-being.
According to WHO's 2014 Mental Health Atlas survey, Africa has 1.4 mental health workers per 100 000 people, compared with a global average of 9 per 100 000. In Africa, mental health patients outnumber mental health services, facilities, and professionals. Nonetheless, over the years, the awareness of mental health is increasingly commendable.
The triggers of mental illness, such as unemployment, trauma, poverty, and childhood abuse, are rampantly reaching critical levels with the added struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isolation from lockdown and other health restrictions have left many people in high levels of stress. In most parts of Africa, where psychiatric problems are viewed as taboo, it is increasingly difficult for mental health patients to get the help they need.
The educated population needs to help spread awareness about mental health and engage the community in the sensitisation process. Companies should take mental health very seriously as it affects the complete well-being of their employees, affecting productivity and profits.
The workplace is an optimal environment to promote mental and physical health programs. Due to established structured communication in workplaces, it is easier to educate employees about mental well-being and health and offer incentives to reinforce healthy behaviours.
Many companies have take actions such as :
- Offering free or subsidised clinical screening for depression
- Offering health insurance for mental health counselling and therapy,
- Providing mental health self-assessment tools to employees
- Relaxation and quiet spaces at work
At Bewsys, we promote a positive working environment through implementing suggestions from our quarterly employee satisfaction surveys, taking courses on professional resilience, and recognising employees through performance management processes. We also provide health insurance packages to our employees.
This year's theme is "mental health in an unequal world." Nevertheless, in a world where everyone struggles with mental health, it is unfair to trivialise or mock another's struggles. Mental health is for everyone. We need to increase access to mental health services and create more inclusive societies.