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COMPETITION ALERT!

on 16 October 2017

Do you want to win a one night stay for two people, including breakfast, at the beautiful Glenburn Lodge & Spa? Then head on over to the SAFMH Facebook page to find out how you can enter... Competition closes 30 October. 

PRESS RELEASE: SAFMH HOPEFUL THAT ESIDIMENI ARBITRATION HEARINGS WILL LEAD TO CHANGE

The SA Federation for Mental Health welcomes the arbitration hearings currently taking place regarding the Life Esidimeni tragedy. While we recognise that the hearing and the details that are emerging will be emotionally taxing and difficult for the families of the victims, we wish them strength and hope that this process will help them to get the closure and justice they deserve.

It is our hope that the Gauteng Department of Health will take this process to heart, and will make the necessary efforts to self-correct. The fact that former MEC Qedani Mahlangu is not being called as a witness is disheartening, and we hope that all those responsible for what took place will indeed be brought to justice.

While we focus on the important task of helping the victims’ families and those affected by what happened at Life Esidimeni receive some form of justice, it is crucial that we also look at how we can prevent such a tragedy from happening again. From the time that the movement of patients from the Life Healthcare Facilities was announced in 2015, SAFMH and other stakeholders raised alarm over the fact that the proper procedures for deinstitutionalisation, as laid out in the Mental Health Policy Framework and Strategic Action plan, were not being followed. We were hopeful that following the Life Esidimeni tragedy Government would prioritise the implementation of the Policy Framework, but unfortunately to date this has not been the case. Unless our mental health policy and legislation is properly implemented and supported, mental health care in South Africa cannot improve. SAFMH will continue to advocate for the upscaling of community based mental health services, to help ensure that there are safe and reputable organisations where mental health care users can receive the care and support they need.

 

FOR ENQUIRIES INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Marthé Kotze

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

SA Federation for Mental Health

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

011 781 1852

PRESS RELEASE: WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY – MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE

10 October is commemorated around the world as Mental Health Day, and this year the SA Federation for Mental Health is focusing on Mental Health in the Workplace. A great deal of research has been done to show the negative impacts that mental health problems have on the South African as well as Global economy. However, it is important that we also focus on the negative effect that discrimination and abuse of people with mental health problems in the workplace can have on individuals.

 A recent study by the United Kingdom based organisation Business in the Community (BITC), found that among UK based employees who had disclosed mental health issues to an employer, 15% faced dismissal, disciplinary action or demotion. This could mean as many as 1.2 million people are negatively affected for disclosing mental health problems. While no similar studies have as yet been in South Africa, statistics such as these show the potentially negative effects that mental health care users face in the workplace.

 It is the responsibility of organisations and employers to create a workplace culture that is accepting of persons with mental health conditions, and to protect the rights of persons with mental health conditions and mental disabilities. Employers have the opportunity to change the climate of fear regarding mental health in the workplace and become agents of change. By addressing mental health problems in the workplace and investing in mental health care for workers, employers can increase productivity and employee retention. Untreated mental disorders in employees can result in diminished productivity at work, reduced rates of labour participation, foregone tax based income, increase in workplace accidents, and higher staff turnover.

 There are a number of steps that organisations can take to support their employee’s mental health; the risk factors for stress in the workplace can be modified, and an organisational climate that promotes wellbeing and creativity can be developed by targeting workplace policies as well as the needs of individual employees. Similarly, effective treatments exist for common mental disorders, and an employer can facilitate access to care to those who may need it.

On the 10th of October SAFMH will be partnering with the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) to empower and educate SABC staff on how to protect and maintain their mental wellbeing, as well as what the rights of people with mental disabilities in the workplace are. In the same way SAFMH would like to encourage all organisations to prioritise the mental health of their staff, not just on the 10th of October, but throughout the year.

 

FOR ENQUIRIES INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Marthé Kotze

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

SA Federation for Mental Health

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

011 781 1852

SIGN THE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2017 PLEDGE

October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the focus is all about Mental Health in the Workplace. 

To show that you and your organisation is serious about prioritising mental health in the workplace, sign the pledge and commit your team to do your best at being proactive in promoting:

Appreciation of employees and workers
Creating of a supportive environment
Identification of early signs of burnout
Creating an organizational culture which reflects value systems and beliefs
Stress management
Building awareness and reducing stigma
Mental health wellness and providing support for employees who need it

You can find the pledge on the World Federation for Mental Health's website here.

Press release: Mental Health Awareness Month – Focusing on Mental Health in the Workplace

Every year October is commemorated as Mental Health Awareness month, and this year the theme chosen by the World Federation for Mental Health is Mental Health in the Workplace. At a global level, one-in-four people will likely experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. Worldwide over 300 million people are estimated to have depression, equivalent to 4.4% of the world’s population, and 800,000 people take their own lives each year.

The economic consequences of poor mental health are equally significant. A World Economic Forum/Harvard School of Public Health study estimated that the cumulative global impact of mental disorders in terms of lost economic output will amount to $16.3 trillion between 2011 and 2030. 

According to the WFMH, globally:

  • 10% of the employed population have taken time off work for depression
  • An average of 36 workdays are lost per depression episode
  • 50% of people with depression do not receive treatment
  • Cognitive symptoms of depression, such as difficulties in concentrating, making decisions and remembering, are present up to 94% of the time during an episode of depression, causing significant impairment in work function and productivity
  • Studies have shown that just $1 of investment in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 in better health and ability to work
  • 6 in 10 people say poor mental health impacts their concentration at work
  • Mental health conditions cost employers more than $100 billion and 217 million lost workdays each year

The last large scale national mental health study conducted in South Africa found that one-in-three people are likely to experience a mental health illness during the course of their lifetime. According to Statistics South Africa, employee absenteeism costs the South African economy between R12 billion and 16 billion annually, a large portion of which can be attributed to workplace stress, burn-out and employee ill health. In 2015, a study by Bloomberg ranked South Africa as the second most stressed nation on the planet. A similar study conducted by Ipsos Global and Reuters found that as many as 53% of SA’s working population are not taking their annual leave, resulting in increased stress and eventual burnout.  These statistics highlight the fact that mental health in the workplace is a subject South African’s should be paying attention to.

The workplace is the most important environment to discuss mental health and illness, yet it is the last place we typically hear about it. Employees are afraid of discussing it with co-workers and bosses. They don’t want to lose their jobs, damage relationships or risk future employers learning of illnesses and judging them. The stigma of mental illness keeps them silent.

Employers have the opportunity to change this climate of fear regarding mental health at the workplace and become agents of change. By addressing mental health issues in the workplace and investing in mental health care for workers, employers can increase productivity and employee retention. Untreated mental disorders in employees can result in diminished productivity at work, reduced rates of labour participation, foregone tax based income, increase in workplace accidents, and higher staff turnover.

There are however a number of steps that organisations can take to support their employee’s mental health. The risk factors for stress in the workplace can be modified, and an organisational climate that promotes wellbeing and creativity can be developed by targeting workplace policies as well as the needs of individual employees. Similarly, effective treatments exist for common mental disorders, and an employer can facilitate access to care to those who may need it.

Some ways employers and organisations can prioritise and support mental health:

  • Protect work-life balance. Policies for flexible hours, teleworking, care leave, last minute days off can all help ease the combination of working and caring. Beyond these policies, promote work life balance in your organizational culture: respect regular working hours and safeguard leisure and family time
  • Combat stigma. Promote a workspace which fosters positive mental health and do not tolerate stigmatisation. Train your Human Resources (HR) personnel and managers on how to promote mental health in the workplace
  • Celebrate awareness days. On World Schizophrenia Day, World Mental Health Day, World Suicide Prevention Day, etc., share a message supporting the colleagues who are dealing with mental ill health in their daily lives
  • Start the conversation. You don’t have to wait till awareness days to start a conversation about mental health. Speaking up about your own story related to mental health sends the strongest message that it’s safe for others to do so as well.
  • Regularly inform your employees on the services that you have available to them. Do you have someone in HR on call for emergency mental health calls? Does your company’s health insurance plan cover access to services and care?

 The protection of mental health at work has more impact if it focuses on preventive strategies. It is essential to handle the causes and the consequences of work-related stress with a combination of both collective and individual measures. Creating a mental health friendly workplace can help to prevent employees from experiencing burnout and other mental health problems.

 The mental health-friendly workplace:

  • Welcomes all qualified job applicants; diversity is valued
  • Includes health care that treats mental illnesses with the same urgency as physical illnesses
  • Has programs and practices that promote and support employee health-wellness and/or work-life balance
  • Provides training for managers and front-line supervisors in mental health workplace issues, including identification of performance problems that may indicate worker distress and possible need for referral and evaluation
  • Safeguards confidentiality of employee health information
  • Provides an Employee Assistance Program or other appropriate referral resources to assist managers and employees
  • Supports employees who seek treatment or who require hospitalization and disability leave, including planning for return to work
  • Ensures “exit with dignity” as a corporate priority, should it become essential for an employee to leave employment

SAFMH calls on Government and the private sector to invest in corporate wellness and mental wellbeing, and to ensure that metal health receives the funding, resources and prioritisation it deserves.  SAFMH would also like to ask all sectors of society to focus on mental health and wellbeing within the context of their individual workplaces, and to work together to support and protect the mental health and dignity of those around us.

 FOR ENQUIRIES INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Marthé Kotze

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

SA Federation for Mental Health

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

011 781 1852

 PRESS RELEASE: SAFMH CONDEMNS ABUSE OF LEARNER WITH DISABILITY

18 September 2017

The SA Federation for Mental Health is very concerned by the video footage that emerged this morning, showing a learner with a mental disability being beaten and forced off a school bus by staff of the Adelaide Tambo School. Although we welcome the fact that the staff member responsible has allegedly been placed on suspension and charged with assault, the video highlights the mistreatment that many people with mental disabilities still face.

Persons with mental disabilities are often vulnerable to abuse and discrimination, and children with mental disabilities especially need our protection and care. The fact that adults who are entrusted with the care of vulnerable children would physically and verbally abuse them in this way is shocking and is a blatant violation of the learner’s human rights. The Life Esidimeni tragedy has been a lesson in what can happen if people with mental disabilities are not treated with dignity and respect, and it is unfortunate that even after Life Esidimeni we still see human rights violations like these take place.

SAFMH would like to call on all sectors of society to respect and uphold the rights of persons with mental disabilities, and to speak up if they see these rights being violated in any way. We also call on Government to ensure that teachers and care workers who work with children with mental disabilities receive the training and support needed to enable them to provide these children with the proper care. Members of the public are encouraged to report any cases of human rights violations to the SAFMH Mental Health Watch Reporting System:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tel: 011 781 1852

Sms/whatsapp: 076 0788 722

Online: www.safmh.org

 FOR ENQUIRIES INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Marthé Kotze

Programme Manager: Information & Awareness

SA Federation for Mental Health

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.