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City encourages employers to prioritise mental health of staff<p>‘We are very proud of the strong, resilient and talented employees we call our own. Our staff have worked in an immensely pressured environment these past six months. Our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Wellness department, therefore, anticipated a greater need for counselling and assistance during this time and have been reaching out to the various departments to assist as needed. The City has encouraged all employees to make use of the EAP services available to them especially after the intense working year everyone has endured.<br> <br>‘This Mental Awareness month, the City would like to recognise all the resilient and strong women and men in Cape Town for the various roles they play, be it at work or at home, and for their contribution to our City and its people. Staff need support from their employers now more than ever. It is very important that everyone is well aware of the various symptoms associated with mental illnesses in order to seek the appropriate assistance. Employees need to be assured that they are supported and will be assisted with coping mechanisms that will allow them to remain the resilient and committed individuals on which organisations rely,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services, Councillor Sharon Cottle.</p><p>The City ensures a supportive environment by providing workshops specific to creating awareness of mental health illnesses and recommended coping mechanisms. Various departments have also combined efforts to create safe spaces for staff members to share experiences and to support one another.  </p><p>COVID-19 and lockdown regulations have challenged mental health in many different ways; and our responses to these changes have been as unique as our experiences themselves. Employers should be on the lookout for mental health issues such as trauma associated with COVID-19, anxiety, depression and suicide, the latter being the unspoken mental health issue.</p><p>Suicide is currently a hidden public health concern in our communities. Research shows that there are more suicide deaths than actual murders worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, over 800 000 people take their own life each year – that is one person every 40 seconds. It is important to understand that suicide is common among all ethnic societies, and genders and that it varies across all ages, from early teenage years to late adulthood. Documented studies inform us that suicide is the result of underlying mental health issues. </p><p>Warning signs are not to be neglected and it is important that employees do not feel that they are alone. Managers and co-workers should never underestimate the simple act of reaching out to colleagues who appear to be struggling to cope. They can encourage them to seek help instead of trying to deal with their situation in isolation. </p><p>The City’s Employee Assistance Programme and Wellness Department provides all staff with confidential, professional and holistic interventions, which empower them to address and manage their personal and work-related challenges. These include one-on-one counselling and support services, which aim to empower staff with interpersonal, stress management and resilience skills.<br> </p><p><strong>End</strong><br></p>2020-10-13T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#029fe683-1cda-4db0-b82a-bf96ce467c79;L0|#0029fe683-1cda-4db0-b82a-bf96ce467c79|Corporate services;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#e93220d8-b402-4b6d-8517-1c462065d87b;L0|#0e93220d8-b402-4b6d-8517-1c462065d87b|employee1

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