The Malta Independent 30 March 2023, Thursday
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How to be mentally healthy at work

Sunday, 16 October 2022, 11:00 Last update: about 7 months ago

Healthy Mind Works – Richmond Foundation

Picture this: it’s quarter to six on a Thursday evening. As your almost numb legs switch through the pedals while you sit in traffic, you wonder where all your energy has gone. It’s been an awful week. You haven’t met up with your friends in ages or taken time to do something you enjoy. You can feel a lump form in your throat as you finally reach your front door, knowing that your day isn’t over yet. After a quick shower and some microwaved leftovers, you slump onto the sofa and switch on some Netflix to keep you company while you pull out your laptop and scroll through your unread emails which just seem to constantly flow into your inbox. Sipping your 8pm coffee, your eyes get heavy and you end up reading each sentence two or three times because the words have no meaning anymore. Regretfully, you stumble to bed, too exhausted to sleep. When you eventually start drifting off, you realize that you’ll be awake in a few hours to repeat the same day for the fifth time this week.


Your colleagues understand that you’re not the nicest in the morning. “Don’t talk to me before I’ve had my morning coffee” you’ve explained to them. However, they’ve started to realise that this might be about more than just coffee. You don’t keep up appearances as you usually would; your clothes are worn and your five o’clock shadow makes its entrance at 10am. Colleagues come and go, reminding you about tasks that are piling up faster than the emails are. Ten minutes should be enough time to eat lunch, right?

Trudging back from your “break” you pass your colleague Jamie in the hallway, who looks at you with concern and asks if everything is okay. “Yeah fine, just a little tired,” you answer automatically. Both of you know this is a lie; you’re a lot more than “a little” tired. You start walking past Jamie back to your desk before he calls out your name. You turn to find a kind smile on his face as Jamie reassures you that he’s there to help you if you need it. He reminds you that if you need to speak to a professional, your company makes use of Richmond Foundation’s Healthy Minds Work programme. Your response is an angry one; you snap at Jamie and tell him that he better focus on his own work instead of sticking his nose in your business. After storming back to your desk in frustration something happens to you. You suddenly feel empty. You recognise this feeling that’s been buried within you and you realize that you’ve been ignoring it this whole time. For how long? Days? Weeks? Surely not months?

Getting home on Friday evening you open your emails, but not to answer them this time. You scroll through hundreds of emails to find one from your manager which is a few months old.  The subject reads Healthy Minds Work. You open it and start reading: “Richmond Foundation provides our company with their Healthy Minds Work programme. Its aim is to help us promote and support employee wellbeing. This programme offers you as our employees a number of psychotherapy sessions that will be paid for by the company, and don’t worry, the sessions are completely confidential so not even the company itself will know who is using it. The programme also gives up the opportunity to receive training on mental health and wellbeing, consult with Richmond Foundation about mental health-related issues at work and even research our company to explore how we can improve on wellbeing at the workplace.”

You research a little further about the service and find an interview online in which a company that makes use of Healthy Minds Work talks about what it is and why it’s so important: “The mental wellbeing of our employees has always been a priority for the company. We need to help our employees balance their personal lives with work for them to work at or close to their full potential. Through offering this programme to our employees Eden Leisure Group is making it easier for employees to access the help and guidance they might need.”

The interview goes on and your interest is piqued.

At Eden Leisure Group we have trained all our management staff in Mental Health First Aid in order for them to be familiar with issues that employees may be going through and to know what’s the best way to tackle the situation. We have commissioned employee surveys on mental health and wellbeing in order to get feedback from our employees as to where we are as a company and what they would like to see in the future. If you look after your employees' mental wellbeing, then levels of engagement will rise and so will staff morale and loyalty, productivity and ultimately the bottom line. Employees should feel that the workplace supports their mental health and they should be able to communicate with their managers about issues they are facing and how these are affecting their work performance.”

Letting out a deep sigh your head hits the pillow. You read the scribbled number that you jotted down… 1770. You smile lightly as you shut your eyes, knowing that you’ll take the step and call them in the morning.

Everyone’s experience is unique. You might relate with the above narrative in many ways or not at all. Mental health presents itself differently for everyone and people working in different fields have different stressors to deal with. Healthy Minds Work caters to all the various hurdles one might encounter, both at the workplace and in one’s personal life and we’re always here to help.

The Healthy Mind Works is only one of the many services offered by Richmond Foundation.  Richmond Foundation is a founding member of the Malta Health Network, which is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary of being a voice for the patient in Malta

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