Companies urged to develop mental health policies

By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza

One of the country’s leading mental health experts, Dr.Ndumanene Silungwe has urged the corporate world to consider developing mental health policies at the workplace and increase investments in the mental health services to ensure sustainable production and fruitfulness.

Silungwe, who is the clinical psychologist for Saint John of God Hospitaller services was speaking in Blantyre on Thursday during the mental health wellness workshop which the organization organised for the workers in various companies and organizations in the southern region.

Dr.Ndumanene Silungwe

Silungwe described as a huge risk for stakeholders to contribute only one percent towards the mental health services in the country.

“Surely, Malawi cannot develop and achieve the vision 2063 if stakeholders continue investing poorly in health sector most especially on mental health services,” he said.

According to Silungwe, the corporate world has of the recent years witnessed a downward trend in production due to the increased mental health challenges faced by the players.

“For example, we have recently witnessed economic, health and environmental shocks such as devaluations, covid -19 and cyclone Freddy among others that have affected the mental health of most people. These have in turn, also affected the productivity of many companies as many workers do not work hard since they mostly think about such  catastrophes,” said Silungwe.

The clinical psychologist said stakeholders needed to among other strategies consider developing  mental health policies at the workplace to promote productivity and fruitfulness.

In a seperate interview, the human resource manager for centre for social concern, research and environmental development(CSCRED) Mathews Banda described the workshop as an eye opener towards addressing cases of mental health services at the same workplace.

Banda noted an increase in mental health  challenges at the workplaces, which he said, many authorities undermine.

” Instead most of the companies resort to fire the victims instead of seeking the referrals or reporting to the psychologist for rehabilitation. This affects the productivity as there is no continuity,” he said.

The half day workshop attracted human resource practitioners, managers, and those responsible for corporate social responsibility in various organizations.

Saint John of God Hospitaller services is one of the leading mental health and psychosocial support services provider in the country.