‘Incorporate Mental Health Into Human Resource Management’

This year’s World Mental Health Week has been launched, with a call on employers to streamline mental health of employees in their human resource management.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei, said the call was underpinned by the fact that work naturally precipitated stress, which could trigger mental illness and affect productivity.At the launch of the 2017 World Mental Health week in Accra last Monday, he said work related stress could also trigger an existing mental health problem that a person might otherwise had successfully managed without letting it affect their work.

The global week-long celebration begins on every October 10 and the commemoration is used to raise awareness of mental health and the human rights of the mentally challenged.
The 2017 commemoration is on the theme, “Mental health at the workplace”.


Dr Osei said such mental conditions might not be too obvious and, therefore, were likely to be ignored and that affected productivity or caused the sufferer to at worse commit suicide.

He, however, mentioned the symptoms of work related stress to include mood swings, erratic thinking, chronic anxiety, and exaggerated sense of self-worth, Impulsive actions or display of an unusual behaviour for a week or more.

He, therefore, appealed to employers to prioritise mental health in human resource administration to boost productivity.

That, he said, could be done in many ways, such as improving working conditions, insisting that employees took their leave and initiating other forms of stress alleviation programme for employees.

Employee assistance programmes

He said to help improve mental health at the workplace, the Mental Health Authority was working with its stakeholders to establish employee assistance programmes at workplaces.

Dr Osei said the pressure to meet timelines, deliver on workloads and unintentional pressure from line managers to deliver on workload and timelines, denying work benefits due an employee, among others, could precipitate the stress that induces mental illness.

Shackling of the mentally ill

Dr Osei said the Mental Health Act 2012, which banned putting mentally ill patients seeking care anywhere in shackles and cages, would be implemented strictly as from now.

He appealed to the government to ensure that medication for mental health care was available to ensure that all interventions to deal with human rights abuses against the mentally ill were effective.

The Chief Executive of Databank Group, Mr Kojo Addai Mensah, a mental health advocate and the chairman for the event, called on the media to give attention to mental health to raise the needed awareness.

Making a remark on behalf of the coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on mental health, Ms Shantha Rau Rarriga of the Human Rights Watch, applauded the Mental Health Authority for facilitating the promotion of the human rights of the mentally challenged nationwide.

She said during visits to some traditional and religious healers’ camps, it was realised that many who had been previously chained had been freed and alternative measures of calming them, such as medications had been provided.