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Press Statement by Dr Hazel Laws for World Mental Health Day 2017

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CMO-Dr-Hazel-Laws

‘Mental Health in the Workplace’ is the theme for World Mental Health Day 2017, which is celebrated each year on October 10th
Based on the last census in 2011, approximately 60% of our population is comprised of adults within the working age range 20 — 64 years. As much as 25% or more of a working adult’s time is spent on the job. The workplace environment is therefore a significant social determinant of the mental health and state of wellness of all adults who are employed. Promoting good mental health in the workplace is therefore a critical step employers should take to improve the health of their employees and their organisation.
Employers can promote good mental health in the workplace by:
1. Promoting a healthy environment:
Workload management demands reasonable work hours and must allow for adequate timefor breaks like lunch break.
2. Helping workers identify mental health risks:
Organisation of free screening that will help employees recognise their risk factorsfor mental disease.
3. Supporting employees in addressing mental health issues/challenges by understanding, listening and engaging in effective conversation which can be of immense help to those who are impacted by mental illness.
4. Ensuring physical safety at work.
These are four essential (4) factors that can go a long way in fostering mental health and wellness in the workplace.
It must be noted that there are also some common mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and substance abuse that can negatively impact an employee’s ability to work productively. Substance dependence/abuse is the second most common mental disorder that was diagnosed during 2016 in the community-based health care setting in St. Kitts and Nevis. The substances that are most commonly abused include alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and cannabis/marijuana. These common mental illnesses are easily diagnosed and treated / managed in our Federation.
The Ministry of Health is committed to ensuring that all employees and citizens have access to appropriate mental health services and mental health education in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Mental health services can be accessed at the Basseterre, Sandy Point and Molineux Health Centers where community-based mental health clinics are held on a weekly basis. Mental health services can also be accessed at the J. N. F. General Hospital and the Mental Health Day Treatment Center which was opened to the public on September 4, 2017.
Dr. Hazel Laws
CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
October 10, 2017
‘People first Quality ACways

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