NIOSH: Promote mental healthcare at the workplace

The Star- Sunday, 3 April 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Employers should show more initiatives to promote mental healthcare at the workplace.

National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said neglect of mental health and psychosocial factors at the workplace was detrimental to the workers and directly affected productivity, efficiency and output of any enterprise.

“No workplace is immune to mental disorders and their impact in psychological, social and economic terms is high,” said Lee.

“Employee performance, frequent illness, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status.”

 Lee was giving the keynote speech at the 8th Malaysian Conference on Healthy Ageing – Making Mental Health a Priority for Healthy Ageing at a hotel here yesterday.

He said the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that 12% of the adult population suffered from some form of mental illness (anxiety, stress, psychosis, depression and schizophrenia).

According to the 2015 survey, 29.2% (4.2 million) of adults 16 years and above were suspected of having mental health problems.

Lee said mental health was not just about mental illness, but it was a feeling of well-being, the ability to cope with challenges, to maintain a harmonious relationship with others and to have a positive attitude towards one’s self.

He pointed out that as workers spent one-third of their day in the office, workplace issues were one of the contributors of depression.

“Work stress should not be taken lightly as it could affect employee’s physical and emotional health.”

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