Mental health has become a major concern around the world and in all sectors, including pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. The penetration of the problem was exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to mental fatigue, anxiety and especially social distancing.
Therefore, creating an environment of trust and comfort is essential for understanding and addressing the challenges of mental health, panelists said during a discussion on Mental health and well-being at work, held during the Conference on the diversity of pharmaceutical companies Thursday (December 9).
Speaking in the context of the workplace, Monika Misra, Head of Employee Health and Welfare, Europe and MEA, said: “We really need to create an environment of trust where we have the manager, really trying understand the unique challenges and needs of the individual, but also make the individual feel comfortable opening up and having this conversation with their manager.
Although services such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), counseling and occupational health services are available for everyone to cure mental health issues, but selection should be based on individual needs , she said.
“It is therefore very important that we balance, access for all with the consideration of individual needs and the adaptation of our approaches accordingly,” she said during the session moderated by the president of the conference. Clive Myrie, BBC presenter.
“One size doesn’t fit all.”
Sharing her personal experience, Julie Campbell, Head of People & Organization Novartis Oncology UK & Ireland explained how she struggled during the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
“I couldn’t remember a date, which meeting I was at which meeting I wasn’t. I thought I really didn’t know if I had dementia or not ”.
“It was difficult” because as an HR manager she is supposed to know the answers to questions.
“That’s when I found the opportunity to start driving the agenda to be able to say well, in fact, we have to demonstrate vulnerability as leaders, in order to provide a safe space for that to happen. our associates can share. “
Campbell stressed that it’s important for leaders to be open and comfortable talking about mental health issues, because sometimes they don’t do anything about it “out of fear of doing the wrong thing.”
“It’s really about trying to create a culture where it’s okay to talk anytime and not feel judged. But, it takes time. It needs courage. And I also think it’s the people who might not know how to react. “
To be able to develop good initiatives, it is essential to understand the data and the root causes of people’s difficulties. The struggle could be work related or something else, Misra said.
She said, “If we don’t have that level of information and insight, then there’s a danger that we can put in place initiatives that don’t really address the problem.
“So we can put a cast on it, we can think okay, so that’s the problem, let’s get mindfulness advice, but actually the root cause, maybe the pace of change or the burden of work, for example, which we see in organizations very commonly. “
She suggested that organizations can correct this blunder by simply asking employees about the sources of their pressure in several ways such as a company survey, a specific mental health survey, apps, or through regular feedback from employees. managers.
It is important to create such data “to understand the problem you are trying to solve before taking any action.”
Agreeing with Misra, Surgeon Commandant Manish Tayal MBE added that it is important for every organization to constructively invest time with the workforce to prepare them for difficult times.
In addition, it is important to make people aware of the kind of support they would receive during and after the time of crisis.
He shared the example of a defense trauma risk management program, which has also been deployed beyond the armed forces in recent years and has been really effective.
Misra also spoke about mental health issues triggered by remote working.
She said: “It keeps businesses going, but mental health issues have been made worse by working remotely, so we really need to think about next year on how we will tackle these issues, as well as how to approach these issues. many other things like the development of learning. . “
“In terms of mental health, I think the key issues are really how do we continue to feel connected to the community and the broader organization that we work in? “