Minister’s message for World Mental Health Day

| 10/10/2017
CNS Local Life

Dwayne Seymour

(Minister for Health Dwayne Seymour): We are once again marking World Mental Health Day, the annual date which highlights an issue that is all too often given insufficient attention. As Minister for Health, I want to ensure that mental health is given the same focus as physical health, both of which are very important to a person’s overall well-being.

The theme this year is mental health in the workplace and I am certain that nearly all of us can relate to this subject. A healthy work environment is not only vital for employees, but is directly related to their productivity and, in turn, the success of the company or organisation for which they work.

I therefore urge employers in the Cayman Islands to ensure that they do everything within their power to support the mental health needs of their workers. I also implore employers not to discriminate against staff who may suffer from mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety, depression or grief.

The World Health Organisation cites many risk factors for mental health that may be present in the working environment.

These include inadequate health and safety policies, poor communication and management policies, as well as limited participation in decision-making or control over one’s area of work. Other factors include low levels of support for employees, inflexible hours and unclear tasks or organisational objectives.

Risks may also be related to high and unrelenting workloads, or people engaged as first responders, or who carry out humanitarian work. These risks may be increased where there is a lack of team cohesion or social support.

Ways to protect and promote mental health in the workplace include implementation and enforcement of health and safety policies and practices, and providing resources to deal with harmful use of psychoactive substances and illness.

It is also important to inform staff that support is available, involve employees in decision-making, convey a feeling of control and participation; and to promote a healthy work-life balance.

I also encourage you to have career-development programmes for employees; and to recognise and reward the contributions of staff.

According to the World Health Organisation, the cost to the global economy through depression and anxiety in the workplace is a staggering $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.

While we in the Cayman Islands are a tiny dot on the world-wide scale, we must do all that we can to maintain and improve mental health in the workplace. We should all have the right to be at ease in our place of employment.

Let us take this occasion of World Mental Health Day to focus on the situation and do everything possible to make employees and colleagues comfortable.

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Category: Medical and Health

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