Reflections On Mental Well-being In The Workplace

Towards an HIV Free Generation

According to the CDC, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act.” Since many individuals spend most of their day in the workplace, the role of mental health to ensure productivity and optimal functioning cannot be overly emphasized. As leaders of organisations and businesses, we have an additional if not, more important role in ensuring the well-being of our teams in the workplace.

In a recent session held with non-managerial team members at HIVSA, termed “In Conversation with the CEO,” our team openly expressed that while the security of a monthly income was important, being able to meaningfully contribute and having a voice to express thoughts, ideas, and solutions made them thrive. Being acknowledged for the role played in the organisation beyond individual job descriptions was equally important and often overlooked. Others expressed the importance of constructive and developmental feedback to direct their work and contribute to their own professional development and mental health.

Too often, leaders get caught up in the meeting of targets and appeasing of external stakeholders while forgetting the paramount importance of the well-being of our teams who make things happen and contribute to organisational goals and achievements. In our own missions to ensure organisational sustainability, compliance, and good governance, we overlook the importance of staff contribution, commitment, and loyalty and how positive mental health is a driver of these factors.

As leaders, we also need to acknowledge the importance of our own mental health and well-being as we steam ahead in our day-to-day activities. Self-reflection and “tuning in” to our own physical, emotional, and social well-being are equally important as we fulfil our various leadership responsibilities. Often, our own behaviour, both positive and negative, towards our teams serves as a good barometer of our own well-being and warrants stepping back to course-correct.

This year’s World Mental Health Day theme “Mental Health Is A Universal Human Right,” reminds us of the equal importance of mental health and well-being for all mankind. It personally challenges me as a leader and serves as a reminder that my own mental health is critical and important to leading a dynamic organisation and ensuring the mental well-being of my team. It starts with me.

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