Supporting employee mental health wellness

20 September 2021 | Opinion

The impact of Covid-19 on mental health has been felt across the globe. Many of us have faced and/or are facing challenges that have stirred strong emotions and caused much stress and anxiety.
In fact, research has shown that population mental health has deteriorated significantly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that rates of anxiety, depression and mental distress increased in 2020 compared to previous years.
Furthermore, population mental health has gone up and down in different ‘waves’, with peaks of mental distress closely correlated with peaks in Covid-19 deaths, and periods when pandemic control measures were most stringent. Importantly, there has been renewed focus on this mental health impact of the pandemic on the global population.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed increasing emphasis on mental health, integrating this important topic into preparedness and response plans for public health emergencies, and providing guidance and advice during the pandemic for health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation and members of the public more generally.
Generally, research supports the notion that addressing the mental health impact of Covid-19 requires a whole-of-society response.

Workplaces not spared
Naturally, workplaces have not been spared from the mental health impact of the pandemic. It has substantially changed the way we work and engage, and caused massive unemployment, which in itself is a major trigger for mental health issues.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that some of the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic include: concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work, taking care of personal and family needs while working, managing a different workload and lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job.
Other factors include feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline, uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment, learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties, and adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule.
Against this background, it is vital that employees have the necessary resources on hand to deal with the fear, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that may arise for them as a result of the pandemic and all the uncertainty it presents.
Old Mutual has recognized that everyone has been impacted in some way or another by the pandemic, and has set in place countless initiatives for employees to have the tools and necessary support to handle the challenges, whether personal or professional.
Across Africa, group employees have free, round-the-clock access to the confidential and professional counselling service provided by clinical psychologists, registered counsellors and social workers at ICAS. These counsellors are qualified to provide psychological support on a range of issues, including relationship issues (family, friends, colleagues), stress, anxiety and depression, grief and trauma, substance abuse, financial challenges (debt, budgeting etc.), and workplace issues and conflict (excluding labour related issues).
Steven Vries, Old Mutual acting human capital executive, notes that, “the sorrows, disruptions and mental health issues caused by Covid-19 have made it more important than ever for all our employees (and their immediate family members) to have access to a professional service that can help them find ways of coping.

Engaging employees
“As a company that cares, providing this service aligns with our purpose of championing mutually positive futures for all our stakeholders, including employees. It’s also part of our business strategy to ensure our employees are engaged and able to bring themselves fully to work. But beyond these reasons, we’re doing this because caring for one another and facing the challenges together is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Beyond providing the ICAS counselling services, Old Mutual Namibia has also put in place several wellness initiatives to help employees maintain their mental health and remain educated on pandemic-related issues.
Amongst others, virtual sessions with healthcare professional on topics such as mental health during Covid-19, the effect of the pandemic on the workplace, and Let’s Talk About Vaccines sessions have been conducted to engage with employees.
Upcoming sessions will focus on loss, mortality and grief with Covid-19, trauma management, pandemic fatigue, and managing stress & anxiety.
Old Mutual Namibia also sends out We Care Packs to employees who test positive for Covid-19, and has provided vitamin packs to all employees.
Old Mutual is convinced that being part of the whole-of-society response noted earlier is not only important for employees, their morale, and their ability to cope with the challenges presented by the pandemic, but also for their families, friends, our clients and other stakeholders and, indeed, all of society.
The group is continuously exploring ways in which to improve the way it cares for its employees, and remains focused on ensuring resilience in the times in which we live.

Similar News

 

Education is key if Namibia is to achieve the...

3 weeks ago - 05 October 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Ned SibeyaAs a “developing” nation, Namibia is constantly trying to improve the social-economic standards of the country and of its people.It does not...

Spring has sprung!

1 month - 20 September 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Leo KapembeSpringI have never seen people so looking forward or excited about seeing spring as Namibians, especially this year.I kind of understand tho,...

Maximizing agriculture through collective investments

1 month - 16 September 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Hanks SaisaiVision 2030 is fast approaching and with nine years left before the country reaches this significant milestone, it becomes every citizen’s responsibility...

‘Forklifting Failure’

1 month - 16 September 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Natasja BeyleveldYou’re okay thinking about the unconventional ideas that could uplift society and norms to a higher standard? Do you like a challenge,...

Fulfilling Namibia’s goals means winning as a team

1 month - 15 September 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Tjiueza TjombumbiNamibia is still basking in the glow of our athletes that have performed so heroically at the Olympics and at the Paralympic...

Culture lead: Understanding organisational culture

1 month - 06 September 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Lorelle ViljoenOrganisational culture are the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values, and ways of interacting that contribute to an organisation’s unique social and psychological environment....

Keep your files updated – GIPF

1 month - 29 August 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Amos KambondeCovid-19 has taught us many lessons, one of which is that life is not guaranteed. The pandemic has taught us that death...

A house with running water is not too much...

2 months ago - 23 August 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Dr John SteytlerThe articles that I recently penned regarding poverty have all focused on facts, figures and statistics, looking at the causes of...

Vaccinate your finances

2 months ago - 19 August 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Ndangi KatomaThe coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in its effect, impacting every facet of daily life. The ongoing third wave has been especially...

Disinfect your phone

2 months ago - 19 August 2021 | Opinion

Johannesburg • Anna CollardImagine if your mobile phone could be used to spy on you, listen to your conversations and sendinformation and images from your...

Latest News

More Pfizer BioNTech arrives

3 hours ago | Health

The United States government donated 124 000 doses of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to Namibia. The vaccines arrived last Friday, following the first consignment...

Smart strategies for sellers

3 hours ago | Life Style

Putting a home on the market can be stressful, and it can be difficult to make objective decisions when it matters most.Adrian Goslett, Regional Director...

Influencer programme generates great interest

3 hours ago | Tourism

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) collaborated with ten social media influencers on its first-ever social media influencer programme, to create awareness of its resorts to a...

Township women learn to sew

6 hours ago | Social Issues

Twenty-eight Windhoek women recently successfully completed a three-month sewing course at the City of Windhoek (CoW).The course was conducted at the UN Plaza Community Hall...

Shoes heading to Omaheke

7 hours ago | Social Issues

Project Never Walk Alone (PNWA), led by Tim Ekandjo, announced the distribution of the second batch of 1300 pairs of shoes to the needy in...

Creating solutions

1 day - 26 October 2021 | Environment

Namibia is known for its pristine environment and landscapes that attract substantial tourists; therefore, the lack of solid waste management if unattended may lead to...

MICT's say on SIM card...

1 day - 26 October 2021 | Technology

Following government’s policy directive that all SIM cards in Namibia must be registered, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) said that after consultations...

Masks, gowns for Health

1 day - 26 October 2021 | Health

When the third Covid wave hit Namibia, the request for assistance was also heard by Support Ulm e.V. in Germany, and Prof. Dr. Heinz Maier,...

Green, inclusive development to rebuild...

1 day - 26 October 2021 | International

Development cooperation is an important cornerstone of the German-Namibian partnership, as was highlighted by the visit of the German delegation of the Federal Ministry for...

Load More