Not much attention has been given on mental health and it is mostly considered a taboo issue in the past. However, implementing a mental health workplace program is actually a win-win measure for enterprises – it helps maintain the well-being of workers and it can improve company productivity.

With the DOLE Department Order No. 208 series of 2020 or the “Guidelines for the Implementation of Mental Health Workplace Policies and Programs for the Private Sector”, workers can now expect the development of strategies that will ensure their mental and emotional welfare.

The Department Order No. 208 requires all workplaces and establishments in the formal sector including those which deploy Overseas Filipino Workers to formulate a mental health policy and program which will raise awareness, prevent stigma and discrimination, and provide support and facilitate access to medical health services.

To provide basic information and education on mental health to workers the OSH personnel and human resource officers must undergo capacity building on the identification, recognition of psychosocial hazards and management of mental health problems. Trainings of workers and program implementers in promoting and advocating mental health in the workplace may be coordinated with DOH, National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) or with other mental health service providers

The mental health program must include activities to identify and manage work-related stress and stressors, promote healthy lifestyle and work-life balance, effectively manage organizational changes, recognize employees’ achievements, and manage disasters and extreme life events. It should also ensure that there are non-discriminatory policies and practices; reasonable work arrangements and workaccommodations; treatment, rehabilitation, and referral systems; and proper benefits and compensation

Establishments must submit their mental health policy and program to the DOLE regional office in their area.

END/ DJ Romero