Promoting the mental well-being of our society through the Mental Health Workplace Charter

Local | 27 Nov 2019 9:00 am

In promoting public awareness and understanding of mental health in Hong Kong, the SAR government has introduced the Mental Health Workplace Charter.

Public awareness of mental health

A survey of Hongkongers’ wellbeing conducted by the Department of Health in 2018 has found that over 40 percent of the respondents rated their mental health status in the past six months preceding the survey as fair, poor or very poor. Regarding the awareness of mental health, only 38 to 58 percent of the respondents can identify subtle symptoms of common mental health problems. Such alarming numbers point to a need for raising the public awareness of mental health, a step that perhaps should be taken first in the process of tackling them.

In light of the hectic work lives many are leading in Hong Kong, it is not difficult to map out the close connection of workplace to one’s health being. An adequate workplace should not only cultivate a positive work culture, it also boasts an effective work stress and mental health risks management. An effective workplace can enhance productivity, increase staff morale, foster business reputation, and ultimately, facilitate a win-win situation for both the employees and employers.

The Mental Health Workplace Charter

What is it?

Recognising the importance of nurturing a mental health-friendly work environment, the SAR government has introduced the Mental Health Workplace Charter this year. As a commitment to the 2018 Policy Address, it launched the first phase of the ongoing mental health promotion and public education initiative.

The Mental Health Workplace Charter is designed with a statement in mind: “we value and pledge to promote a mental health-friendly workplace environment”. It aims to encourage help-seeking, facilitate early identification of mental distress and timely treatment, and create an inclusive and friendly work environment for colleagues with mental distress.

What does it do?

The scheme welcomes all private organisations, public bodies, educational institutions, and non-government organisations to participate. By signing the Mental Health Workplace Charter and completing a designated number of action items from a set of 12 action items, organisations are entitled to either one of the two titles, namely ‘Mental Health Friendly Organisation’ or ‘Mental Health Friendly Supreme Organisation’.

Various incentives are provided, encompassing the provision of professional support and information on mental health-related resources, and an invitation to the kick-off event of the scheme, as well as a certificate. For organisations who are not sure where to start, the list of action items can be used as a reference to advocating a healthy workplace. It involves, for instance, organising family and staff gatherings to foster joy and gaiety, and introducing measures to help staff achieve a better work-life balance.

Let’s join hands to make concerted efforts to create a mental health-friendly workplace environment. For more details and how to join the programme, please visit mentalhealthcharter.hk

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