The OSHC held the 17th National Occupational Safety and Health Congress last September 28 to 30, 2021. The goal was to establish a strong foundation on resilient OSH systems and encourage the best practices of OSH despite the ongoing crisis we know as the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to highlight the topic on Addressing Mental Health Issues in the Workplace brought into discussion by Mr. Rodney Boncajes MD, DSBPP.

He had taken this opportunity as a stepping stone to better improve the quality of the work environment we can offer to all employees. It has been well established that this pandemic can potentially greatly affect a worker’s mental well-being thus leading to an unwanted loss of productivity in the workplace. It is a factor that can contribute to stress, added to the usual work stress the worker faces. Afterall, work affects mental health and in turn mental health affects work.

A worker may seem mentally healthy, but then shows signs and symptoms or emotional distress. This may seem alarming but stress is a natural response to stressors. As long as the worker is able to adapt to the stress and still able to work accordingly, they will still be deemed mentally healthy. These are usually less severe and shorter in duration. 

But when mental health problems are not addressed or treated right away, it may gradually develop into a mental disorder. By this stage, this can influence the worker’s thinking, mood, behavior and ultimately cause distress and impair their functionality. One would find difficulty in coping with normal stresses and productivity.

As advocates of safety and health, addressing these right away. Identify the possible factors of workers’ stress and manage these accordingly. Making sure that the workplace is a safe place for the staff, free from discrimination and harassment, and with a widely available support system for those in need.

Multiple adjustments can be done to further integrate mental health awareness into the workplace, whether it be a change in a personnel’s working pattern/load to better adjust to their condition, or reaching out to them as a mode of support in their trying times. As long as the motivation to improve the work culture for the workers’ mental health and well-being.

Alyssa Karen A. Villamor

Public Relations & Support Staff