August 11, 2022

WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH: Need for work-life balance for sustainable national development (2)


 WELCOME to this week’s “Mental Health Chat Room”, this is a chat room where we discuss the basics of our mental health in order to understand and have a full grasp of the rudiments of mental health and optimum mental well-being. 

This is an essential component of our mental health advocacy activities aimed at promoting our wholesome wellness, preventing mental illness, improving our awareness of mental disorders, and understanding that effective, qualitative, and modern (technology-based) mental health care services are available in Nigeria and Globally.

This will enhance our collective quality of life, harmonious interpersonal relationships, and peaceful coexistence within our communities.

A healthy work-life balance is a situation where you are able to meet your deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies, having enough time to sleep properly and eat well, and not worrying about work when you are at home.

Our healthy work-life balance is a determinant of our mental health and wellbeing and also the other way round; I mean our mental health and well-being are important for our healthy work-life balance, and most critical for our productivity and generally the sustainable development of our communities and country at large. Generally, work is good for our mental health but many work factors can contribute to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

Globalization has contributed to work-related stress and its associated disorders, when work-related stress is high and ongoing it can be a risk factor for mental illness, therefore we should prevent issues where possible and mitigate risk where it is not possible.

Employees’ mental health problems and their impact on an enterprise’s productivity and disability/medical costs are critical human resource issues. The impact of mental health problems in the workplace has serious consequences not only for the individual but also for the productivity of the enterprise. Increasingly, employers’ organisations, trade unions, and government policy-makers are realizing that the social and economic costs of mental health problems in the workplace cannot be ignored.

Because of the extent and pervasiveness of mental health problems, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises workplace mental health as a top priority.

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth. “A state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (-WHO).

Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to living a higher quality of life. Everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.

Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being; it affects how we think, feel, and act, and it also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental health very is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Whereas mental well-being is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. This description asserts that mental well-being is more than an absence of mental illness.

There are relative and subjective elements in this description that are necessary for trying to encapsulate mental well-being. It is a state of well-being where we can realize our potential, cope with normal stressors, live and work fruitfully, and contribute to society (sustainable development)! Finally and very importantly, good (optimum) mental wellbeing is NOT the absence of negative thoughts and feelings.


We all face difficult and challenging situations that cause us to feel angry, sad, overwhelmed, and everything in-between. Instead, “optimum mental well-being” is about being able to understand and manage those feelings.

In the absence of optimum mental well-being, we can drift into what is generally referred to as mental health distress (or mental health discomfort/problems).

Mental health distress or discomfort interferes with our thoughts, and emotional or social abilities, but may not meet the criteria of an illness/disorder. It is a state in which we are not clinically sick but at the same time we experience discomfort in our daily lives, we struggle to meet the demands of our daily lives, especially occupational demands such as going to the office, going shopping, remaining focused at work, struggling with the ability to remain calm in one place, difficulty in coping with customer/client demands and experiencing frequent irritability (being temperamental).

Mental health distress/discomfort often occurs as a result of life stressors, and are usually less severe and of shorter duration than mental disorders/illnesses, although they may develop into mental disorders/illnesses if left unattended and depending on our predispositions. Unhealthy work-life is a recipe for stress (workplace-induced stress). Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.

Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive (productive), such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline.
Continues next time.

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