EMPLOYERS ARE being encouraged to foster positive and healthier minds among their employees through establishing employer-assistance programmes (EAPs).
An EAP is defined as a work-based intervention that is intended to help employees identify and address personal issues that may be impacting their performance at work. It provides free short-term counselling, referrals, and follow-up services.
Dr Earl Wright, a consultant psychiatrist, said that workers with deteriorating mental health as a result of stress would become less productive than those who were actively taking the necessary steps to maintain healthy stress levels. He was speaking at the RJRGLEANER Communications Group’s mental health awareness talk on Wednesday.
“At least 25 per cent of individuals at any point in time is gonna have a mental problem,” he said.
Wright said that the implementation of an EAP in the workplace could be used as a means of connecting employees to get long-term professional help.
He stated that stigma and the fear of being ostracised and associated with madness were two reasons why people generally weren’t open about the psychological concerns they were experiencing.
“When you talk about mental [issues] it’s seen as a weakness,” he said.
“Anger, irritation, impatience, feeling overburdened or overloaded, being anxious, apprehensive, or afraid, racing thoughts, and being uninterested in life and unable to enjoy yourself are all indications that you are under stress.
“You might also have trouble breathing, panic attacks, blurry or painful vision, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.
“The only time that you are not dealing with stress is when you are dead. As long as you are alive, you gonna have to deal with stress,” he said.
“If individuals were to have good mental health and wellness, stress needs to be managed in the correct way.” The most crucial action for people to take, according to Wright, is to pinpoint the source(s) of their stress in their lives. He recommended that people keep a journal to document their everyday activities as from this, it would be easier to recognise the stressor and in turn, guide how they will restructure their lives.
Wright also urged people to include at least 30 minutes of quiet time in their daily schedules and to use this time to practise breathing exercises.
“If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of other people effectively and you can’t work effectively,” he said.
He also advised persons to engage in physical exercise for 30 minutes to an hour daily as this was one way to live longer, improve mental health, and decrease stress.
“Also, don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh!” he added, while also encouraging individuals to find confidential individuals to speak to about the issues they face.