AT a recent seminar on occupational safety and health, I was surprised to note that there are employers who are averse to the discussion of mental health in the workplace.
To me, this could be caused by a lack of understanding on the subject as there are employers who associate mental health with insanity.
Mental health is not about insane people. It is something we all need. It is the ability to cope with life’s challenges, to accept others and, most of all, to have a positive attitude.
According to the World Health Organisation, mental health is “the ability to maintain a harmonious relationship with others, take part in community’s activities and to contribute to the community”.
It is not exaggerating to state that the number of people at risk of developing mental health problems due to stress and pressure is increasing daily.
Ten per cent of Malaysians are set to suffer from mental illness by 2020, as revealed recently by the deputy director-general of health.
The impact of mental health on the family and society is enormous in terms of loss of wellbeing, productivity and economic costs.
In promoting mental health, the workplace is where attention should be focused. The government should consider introducing guidelines to assist employers in doing so.
Employers can formulate a programme that identifies problems at the workplace.
Steps should be taken to improve the work environment, provide counselling and take measures to protect workers’ privacy.
It is important to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the workforce and their families as the basis of a sound human resource development objective. Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, Mental Health Promotion Advisory Council member NST Letters 3 AUGUST 2014 @ 8:02 AM