Holistic plan for mental health

Lee hitting a gong to mark the opening of the seminar, accompanied by Dr Mat Ali (second from right).

THE National Institute of Occu-pational Safety and Health (Niosh) is in the midst of developing a comprehensive plan to help employers and workers address mental health issues in the workplace.

Niosh chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the plan would also include the development of a psychological first aid module to provide early assistance to those affected.

“This is one of the modules that will help employers and employees deal with the issue.

“We want firms to refer workers with mental health issues to counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists so that they can get proper treatment, ” he said after opening a seminar on Psychological Occupational Safety and Health, jointly organised by Niosh and the Public Service Department (JPA) at the National Anti-Drugs Agency headquarters in Kajang.

The two-day seminar saw the participation of some 400 from various government agencies as well as Niosh members.

Also present were JPA psychological management division director Datuk Seri Dr Mat Ali Hassan, Niosh executive secretary Mej (R) Hanif Maidin and Niosh consultancy, research and development division general manager Khairunnizam Mustapa.

Lee said the comprehensive plan would also look into efforts to promote awareness of mental health in both the public and private sector.

“Currently, Niosh is developing the framework, tools and programme modules.

“We want to be a one-stop centre for the industry to get guidance on mental health issues at the workplace, ” he said.To ensure holistic integration, Lee said Niosh had already started collaborating with the Health Ministry, public and private universities, occupational safety and health experts as well as mental health practitioners in Malaysia.

Lee said the programme would be developed in stages with the first phase focusing on raising awareness of mental health and eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness.

“The next phase will focus on managing mental health problems in the workplace through the involvement of employers and employees, including the civil service, ” he said.

Based on the Civil Servants Mental Health Survey 2017, there were 2, 860 mental health cases recorded while another 576 cases were also identified under JPA’s Employee Assessment Programme in the same year.

Among the factors affecting the mental health of civil servants in 2017 were divorce involving 3, 251 cases, serious debt (61, 726) while integrity issues affected 929 personnel.

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