UAE - Employers must value and focus on the mental health and well-being of their employees in the post-pandemic world, physicians said.
Marking the World Health Day held under the theme ‘Health for All’, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, tweeted: “Safeguarding people’s health and well-being has been a key priority throughout the UAE’s journey. On World Health Day we reaffirm this commitment, as we continue to build an advanced healthcare system and contribute to disease eradication efforts around the world.”
Dr Divya Anidharan Rani, specialist psychiatry, Phoenix Hospital, Mussafah, underlined that the UAE leadership and health authorities have always prioritised people’s safety and wellbeing.
“The UAE leadership and ministers have always stressed on the importance of mental health and well-being. We have robust community-based mental health services providing care to those in need. While the country is on a path to recovery, it has become ever so important to pay attention to mental health,” Dr Divya told Khaleej Times.
She highlighted the need to openly share one's feelings with someone they can trust.
“Awareness of mental health is increasing, but still many people who experience distress try to keep their emotions hidden because they fear of being judged by others. Talking to someone you trust helps in such situations. Remember, it’s ok to not be ok.”
Marking the World Health Day’, Dr Divya conducted a mental health awareness programme for the staff in the hospitality sector.
Stress at work
According to a research by UK-based Royal Society for Public Health, mental health and well-being is under “significant strain” amongst hospitality employees. Four out of five hospitality workers reported increased stress because of their job.
Dr Divya noted that work stress can affect both the employees and employers.
“Creating health and well-being policy at your workplace is a great way to build a positive work environment, so that people feel safe and speak about mental health concerns and without any fear they can reach out for help when they need it.”
Dr Sreenivasan, specialist psychiatrist, Ahalia Hospital, Abu Dhabi City, pointed out that with fears of a global recession looming large, employers must make timely chats with employees to avoid issues like depression, anxiety and mental health concerns.
“This year we will find employees pushing themselves to the limit to be in the good books of their bosses. However, burnout will lead to stress and emotional exhaustion. Employers must take necessary measures to ensure that employees can have a healthy work-life balance.”
Giving tips on how employees can cope with stress, Dr Sreenivasan said: “Employees should understand the importance of taking adequate breaks, they must be aware of their limitations and not take on more responsibilities than they can handle, they must spend enough time with family and friends, and finally, maintain a routine, which ensures adequate sleep, healthy diet and exercise as part of their life.”
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