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World Mental Health Day to be observed Oct 10

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Governor general Sir Patrick Allen has proclaimed October 10 as World Mental Health Day under the international theme 'Mental Health in the Workplace'.

The governor general read the proclamation during a ceremony at King's House on Tuesday, which was attended by psychiatrists and professionals involved in mental health care.

The day will form part of activities to mark Mental Health Week, to be observed starting October 8.

The governor general, in his address, urged Jamaicans to participate in the slate of activities scheduled to be held across the country on that day.

Citing statistics, he noted that “one in every four persons around the world will experience mental health problems at one time or another”.

“Many people who suffer from psychological and mental distress experience these issues in the workplace. Increase in knowledge and awareness of these issues will help in developing interventions to promote and protect mental health in the workplace,” he said.

The governor general added that interventions should improve access to employee-assistance programmes to address the stigma of mental illnesses so that dignity is promoted and respected, and people are empowered to take action to promote mental health.

Meanwhile, director of mental health services and substance abuse in the health ministry, Dr Maureen Irons-Morgan, said it is fitting to recognise mental health in the workplace.

“There are some very common issues that affect mental health, such as stress in the workplace and depression. These are factors that can affect productivity. We want employers to recognise that in protecting and promoting mental health and wellness of workers, in the long run we all benefit,” she said.

Information provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that most of one's adult life is spent in the workplace and the experiences there are among the factors determining the overall well-being of people.

The WHO notes that employers and managers who implement workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees with mental disorders are more likely to see gains not only in the mental health of their employees, but also in the productivity of their work.

Activities for the week include a church service at the Portmore Gospel Assembly and a conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

— JIS