Since the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared off the radar, media reports include a press briefing by Malaysia Public Service Department Psychology Management Division director Dr Abd Halim Mohd Hussin, who said that, “We know that it is extremely difficult and distressing for the family to wait for the updates but as of now they are handling their emotion well through the help of our 37 caregivers and counsellors” (New Straits Times, 11 March 2014). Our local news channel, Channel News Asia, interviews Dr Marlene Lee about the psychological trauma faced by the families affected.
The burden of planning activities to raise awareness about mental health issues, improving employees’ mental health literacy, and reducing stigma for seeking professional, confidential psychological support for personal and/or job-related problems generally falls somewhat squarely on someone’s shoulders in the human resource department.
Apart from the run-of-the-mill talks and workshops which typically aim to train up emotional resilience and emotional intelligence among employees, it’s not always easy to know what other mental wellbeing activities could be organized for the benefit of employees, as well as stakeholders. The Health Promotion Board‘s “Enrich Your Mind Learning Festival” organized for the 27th of October 2013, Sunday, at Max Atria, Singapore Expo, is an example of how mental wellbeing can be enhanced and awareness raising can be achieved at the workplace. In addition, this free-admission whole-day affair, which starts at 10am and ends at 6pm, offers expertise from professionals who will dispense advice freely about creating the power of attorney and goodie bags for the early birds.
If not to benefit personally from the mindfulness and relaxation training for coping with day-to-day stress and for guarding against dementia through engaging in mentally stimulating activities, it’s fertile ground for social engagement and for building one’s social network – another protective factor against dementia. It’s not a replacement of a good ol’ walk in the park – yet another protective factor against dementia (Fratiglioni et al., 2004) – but it’s a good place to start. Happy learning!
A letter to the Straits Times forum:
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Voices | Today, 28 August 2013
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“…Recent studies have shown that having happy, healthy, and engaged employees is good for a company’s bottom line. A recent Gallup study reports that the annual per-person cost of lost productivity due to sick days among the least happy and least engaged workers is upward of USD28,000. In contrast, the sick-day lost-productivity cost among the happiest and most engaged workers: USD $840 a year (Rath & Harter, 2010)….” Read more >>
From an article in Headhunt: Issue 133| July 25, 2013