Saturday, 21 October 2017

Mental Health is key to Increased Productivity

By Mabhuchi Nyasulu

A Solidarity March during the Commemoration of the
2017 World Mental Health Day in Zomba, Malawi 
I really love to see the increased levels of people that are mentally healthy, both the employed staff and non-employed persons in the warm heart of Africa. I have also fallen in love with the modern vernacular interpretation of mental health in Chichewa is “Maganizo angwiro”. This is a suitable description unlike a derogatory term that was used some decades ago.

 We are aware of different obstacles which people face in life and those that negatively affect productivity in a working environment. The beauty of commemorating world mental health day is to bring together people from all walks of life in order to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The primary purpose that gains interest as this event gains momentum is the reflection aspect of it. It takes a sober mind to appreciate that united we stand divided we fall. Everyone plays a role in bringing producing such a desirable fruit.

Extending this narrative further to the theme of this year’s commemoration; rules and regulations could be facilitated to safeguard the well-being of employers from stress and anxiety. Sometimes, simple things like having lunch or braai, speak out their mind on ethical work progress helps to boost the mental health of workers. New strategies at work, even to, or delegating strategies of management burn out workshops, a trip to the lake with a group of staff would emulate relief of work pressure and getting the mind refreshed with new and constructive ideas. 

Some people, find peace and tranquility and enjoy life when they eat a well-cooked delicious food. I for one prefer boiled hot potatoes and roasted beef in brown stew. The aroma is medicinal to my nostrils and quickly impacts positively to my psyche. A smile automatically addresses people’s cheeks and they can’t help it but giggle. We tend to ignore things that are good for our mental stamina. For instance, there is something magical that happens to me when I take an early morning walk from Zomba 4 Miles to 3 Miles passing by My Place Lodge. After this good walk my mind says ‘I am healed …I’m healed!’ …my appetite gets back and it comes as if I have never eaten before and every dish I take seems so marvelous. As I chew my food I hold no grudge with anyone and forgiving becomes the song I swallow.

My plea to all employers is that there is a need to set institutional guidelines that should foster a safe environment for employees’ mental well-being. How often do employers allow staff to recuperate and socialize? Of course I am not advocating for turning work places into kindergarten but employees also need some sporting activities like social football/netball etc so as to relieve stress and anxiety. Mental Health is one of the factors that negatively impact on staff returns and this automatically makes it key to increased productivity. Let us all think about this as we commemorate the 2017 World Mental Health Day under the theme: Mental Health in the Work Place.  

Viva mental health in work places! 
#WMHD #2017WMHD 

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