Vanuatu is observing World Mental Health Day 2017 today with the theme: ‘Mental health in the workplace’.

A statement from the Ministry of Health which is spearheading the commemoration of the day says:

“During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work. Our experience in the workplace is one of the factors determining our overall wellbeing.

“Employers and managers who put in place workplace initiatives to promote mental health and to support employees who have mental disorders see gains not only in the health of their employees but also in their productivity at work.

“A negative working environment, on the other hand, may lead to physical and mental health problems, harmful use of substances or alcohol, absenteeism and lost productivity.”

The statement adds that: “In addition, there is an increase of other social issues such as relationship problems, financial problems, unemployment and natural disaster that could also contribute to mental health illness.

“Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to work productively. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability.

“More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders.

“Many of these people live with both. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.”

It is noted too in Vanuatu that there are 7,000 mental health cases recorded (WHO report 2015).

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.

But there are five things you need to practice in order to maintain your mental health status and wellbeing, the statement from the Ministry of Health continues: “Connect yourself by asking this simple question to your workmate or friend “How are you today?”

“This helps you and your friend to talk more about your life; Take at least 30 minutes moderate physical activity every day; Maintain proper balance work and life; Take a break when you are overwhelmed with work related activities; Good planning and delegate responsibility to others.

“During stresses of life you must avoid substances such alcohol and others.

“If you can’t cope with your mental health situation you can visit one of the mental health nurses in near hospital for assistant.”

This year the Ministry of Health is also using social media network for awareness work with the focus on promoting mental health in Workplace.