Employee mental wellbeing is an issue that has been in the news recently.
The most recent Misco 2022 Employee Wellbeing at Work survey showed a significant increase in respondents who stated that they have work-related mental health issues.
Indeed, 79% of employees have experienced mental health issues such as work-related stress and anxiety and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Couple this with other stress factors over the past few years and you paint a very disturbing picture. Covid-19 has taken its toll on everyone – some coping better than others. Inflation is also causing stress – rising prices for basic products is a problem everyone is facing. Instability internationally, for example with the war in Ukraine, also plays a part.
As such, the culmination of stress factors from every angle will have an impact on people.
But while some of these issues are beyond our control, we do have some form of control over work-related stress.
Psychologist Patrick Psaila told this newsroom that businesses should “put their money where their mouth is” when talking about the importance of mental health in the workplace. “They need to have a corporate wellness program in place, which means it gives a clear message to employees, that it’s okay to talk if you’re having mental health problems,” said Psaila, director of PsyPotential Ltd.
In order to deal with mental health issues, we need to talk about them. For its part, management in businesses should listen and, where possible, try to resolve issues.
Psaila said that it should be very clear that the workers will not be judged or penalized in any way, rather they should be given the necessary support. The corporate wellness program should include educational sessions, and counseling services if needed, he added. He had said that there are a large number of people who are stressed, which is the main contributing factor to mental health issues. “In this day and age tight deadlines, work pressure and a large amount of work are what is expected. It is the norm,” he said.
This newsroom also spoke with the CEO of the Maltese Association of Employers, Joseph Farrugia. Farrugia pointed out that one must look at the different sectoral differences to understand the types of stress an individual is under. However, in general he believes that the lack of workers in many industries is a major factor that causes stress in the workplace.
He also suggested that a high turnover of employees in a company is also a stress factor for the employees themselves, who have to see so many colleagues come and go. In addition, employers are also suffering from stress, he said. This is undoubtedly true, especially considering the economic impact that the country faced during the last few years which was due to external factors. Businesses, after all, have been facing many challenges.
All in all, there are many factors that contribute to the mental health issues that employees may face. While those caused by external factors cannot really be controlled, giving space for employees to talk about their work issues, and also to act on those issues to try to improve things, can help. Ensuring that employees know they are valued by the company, and that their voices are being heard is a good step.
Besides these points, there is also the issue of salaries. It is a fact that the cost of living in Malta is increasing – but even before that time it was already stressful for one to do something as essential as securing a roof over one’s head. The issue is that while salaries before the Covid-19 pandemic were already on the borderline to keep up or not, today the prices of almost everything have increased, but some of those same salaries have remained the same or they did not increase to be equal to the increase. in prices. Financial security is no joke when it comes to one’s mental health because it makes or breaks the quality of life one can have. This is something that one should keep in mind in the coming months when there will undoubtedly be more pressure from business representatives (as there already was) so that something like the COLA increase is not granted.