The Philippine Mental Health Law and What It Means For Your Company

Reports say that 1 in 5 Filipino adults suffer from a form of mental illness. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that an average of 7 Filipinos died by suicide each day. These statistics are certainly alarming. But it is not all bad news because last Jun 21st, President Duterte finally signed the Mental Health Law, providing Filipinos with affordable and accessible mental health services. But what does that mean for companies and employers?

Chapter V, Sec. 25 of the Mental Health Law states that:

“Employers shall develop appropriate policies and programs on mental health in the workplace designed to (1) raise awareness on mental health issues; (2) correct the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions; (3) identify and provide support for individuals at risk; and (4) facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.”

The Mental Health Law does not only cover public mental health services, but it also covers the promotion of mental health and policies in the workplace. So, what can you do as an employer, or a company, to implement this? Here is what we suggest:

1. Raise Awareness on Mental Health Issues

A lot of people are unaware of mental health issues and how they affect us. It is important to remember that mental health is more than the absence of a mental disorder. You do not have to be diagnosed with a disorder for you to say that you have a mental health problem. And not all mental health problems mean that you automatically have a mental disorder. Stress, burnout, grief, communication, and interpersonal problems are some forms of mental health issues that can affect an individual’s functioning. Various mental health problems can affect employees and businesses through increased absenteeism and reduced production. Raising awareness about mental health can help prevent and address these issues.

PowerVision EAP can help employers and companies raise awareness about these issues through our educational talks and workshops. Aside from raising awareness, our talks and workshops can also help employees handle life’s common issues before they blow up into bigger problems. Our services can provide employees with insight and awareness about the mental health of others and their own as well.

2. Correct the Stigma and Discrimination Associated with Mental Health Conditions

The lack of awareness of mental health issues also means a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about these issues and the people who have them. Some people believe that mental health problems cannot be treated, that mental health problems are a personal weakness, that mental health problems are not real, or that it is something to be hidden or kept a secret from others. A common Filipino response towards mental health would be, “Nasa isip mo lang iyan.” Unfortunately, these stigmatizing attitudes not only results in discrimination in the workplace, but it can also cause shame and prevent people from seeking help.

PowerVision EAP can also help employers and companies correct the stigma through our talks and workshops. We also extend our expertise to client managers, supervisors, and HR personnel through consultations on handling troubled employees. Through these consultations and workshops, we can work together with you to better understand mental health and how to effectively handle those who suffer from mental health problems.

3. Identify and Provide Support for Individuals at Risk

It is important to recognize the various risk factors and individuals who may be at risk so that we can provide the necessary support that they need. Risk factors include a complex combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. For example, some risk factors at work can include:

  • Excessive workload
  • Insufficient work
  • Role conflict
  • Lack of recognition of work
  • Low status
  • Inadequate social support in the workplace
  • The perception that the workplace is not just or equitable
  • Unsupportive supervision
  • Poor relationships with colleagues
  • Bullying, harassment, or violence
  • Isolated or solitary work
  • Irregular working hours
  • Poor communication
  • Poor leadership
  • Conflicting demands at home and at work
  • Lack of support for home at work, and vice versa

Employers and companies can provide support for their employees by maintaining a stress-free work environment. Employees can also anonymously avail short-term counseling interventions from PowerVision EAP for any personal and work-related concerns. PowerVision EAP counselors can help employees enhance their life skills through coaching. We also have legal and financial consultants that can provide employees with helpful information to plan their next steps on personal and family concerns that involve financial and legal issues. Depending on the program that you choose for your company, our services may also be extended to cover the dependents of your employees. Aside from that, PowerVision also assists EAP clients in preparing for and handling crisis situations, such as workplace violence, suicide, disasters, and individual traumatic incidents.

4. Facilitate access of individuals with mental health conditions to treatment and psychosocial support.

Availing a program with PowerVision EAP can help you facilitate your employees’ access to mental health services. PowerVision can provide face to face counseling sessions and 24/7 phone counseling to help employees deal with personal and work-related issues that impact their performance. Providing these services to your employees can help their mental health, as well as improve their attendance and performance at work. Contact us for more information!

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Mental Health of Fathers

The transition to parenthood is a very important life event for everyone. It is a complex process that requires adjustment to the profound changes in a person’s lifestyle, relationships, and identity. Sometimes, a new parent may have difficulty coping with this transition, which leads to psychological disturbances like Postpartum Depression (PPD).

Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a mood episode that happens either during pregnancy or after pregnancy. It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • persistent sadness
  • anxiety
  • low esteem
  • irritability
  • sleep & appetite changes
  • guilt
  • insomnia
  • suicidal ideation
  • loneliness
  • dysphoria

PPD is usually known to be associated with mothers, affecting 10 to 13% of women worldwide. It makes it difficult to take care of oneself during and after pregnancy. It also makes it difficult for the parent to cope with the normal developmental tasks of child care.

But did you know that Dad’s get affected by PPD too?

Recent studies have shown that 8% of fathers suffer from postpartum depression. Of course, the experience of PPD is different for mothers and fathers. It usually manifests in dads through the following symptoms:

  • anger attacks
  • self-criticism
  • affective rigidity
  • alcohol & drug abuse
  • bowel problems
  • headache
  • toothache
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • exhaustion
  • increased or decreased appetite

Parenting stress is influenced by the role of the parent, the parent’s expectations and perceptions of his or her child, the parent’s characteristics, and the parent’s interaction with the child. A combination of biological, psychological, and social factors distorts the parent’s adaptive reaction to stressors and makes them more vulnerable to PPD.

Mental health issues in parents have been known to negatively affect children. It is also known that when a mother is severely depressed, the risk for paternal depression increases. However, it is also said that fathers could increase the risk of maternal depression if they are depressed or absent.

Clearly, parenting is a team effort that requires both parents to support and help each other during this challenging time.

So what can we do?

INVOLVE AND SUPPORT FATHERS. 

Partners, friends, support groups, & mental health professionals can support & help struggling dads to find meaning, contentment, & pride in their new roles as well as cope effectively with their anxieties & doubts.

Involving dads in childcare gives them the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate being a father. They gain a new sense of meaning and satisfaction in being a father when they are regarded as more than just the breadwinner of the family. Spending time with children, caring for them, playing with them, and interacting with them can also be very healing and can give parents a lot of emotional benefit.

Involved and supported dads are also beneficial for the whole family. Involved dads can help children with academic problems and protect them from developing behavior problems. They also become emotionally healthy and are more able have a lasting positive impact on their children’s emotional well being. Children benefit from fathers who are able to model and handle emotions effectively.

Emotionally healthy fathers also improve their partner’s mental health. Emotionally responsive and supportive fathers have partners who are less stressed, anxious, and depressed. This can be very helpful especially for mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression.

Provide support by reaching out to struggling parents and listen to them. Show that you are there for them and willing to support them in their times of trouble.

If you are a parent experiencing PPD, know that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Allow yourself time to adjust to the new changes in your life and give yourself space to relax. It is important to always remain healthy and to create a support network that you can rely on. Being a parent is a challenging task and it is normal to be anxious and scared of this new chapter in your life.

If you are struggling with the challenges of parenthood or know someone who does,  you may need to reach out to a friend or a professional counselor.

PowerVision provides Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) or workplace counseling services to companies and organizations in the Philippines. We help employees of our client companies deal with personal and work-related issues that impact their performance, such as the challenges of parenting and parenthood.

 

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Make Your Relationships Last Forever!

In her book “Creating Connection”, marital therapist Susan Johnson asserts that relationship problems arise when one or both partners’ need for safety and security in the relationship are not met.  If you want your relationship to last forever, you need to work on being that safe and secure person that your partner would long to go home to after a difficult day.  You would be the shoulder to cry on when they’re hurt, or the best friend they can share their deepest thoughts and feelings with.  Here are a few things you can do to develop a safe and lasting relationship:

 

TeddyBear

Love your partner unconditionally.  Accept their flaws and strange habits.  Validate how they are feeling even if it does not make sense to you.  Let go of minor irritants and discuss important issues objectively and lovingly.

Have other sources of strength, such as close friends, your parents, or God.   So when your partner is having a bad day, you can still love unconditionally because you can “recharge” from another source.

Be honest and faithful.  Nothing can destroy a relationship faster than a painful betrayal of trust.  If you find your heart straying,  discuss this openly with your partner before it progresses into an affair.  Examine what is missing in your relationship that you can work on together.

If you feel that your relationship is on the rocks, a counselor may be able to help you sort out your differences and build up your relationship.

 

Tips on keeping your new year’s resolutions

For those who made new year’s resolutions …. are you still keeping them by now?  If you are struggling, then you are like most other people.  Statistics show that only 8% of people stick with their resolutions by the end of the year.  How can you be one of those 8%?

Here are some tips:

  1. Choose resolutions that you really really want to achieve.  Motivation is key!
  2. Take small steps, and celebrate your successes frequently.
  3. When you fail or get discouraged, remember why you want to achieve this goal and start again.  Make a new day’s resolution!

For more tips, watch this interview with Jean Lim.

 

 

 

Simplifying Relationships

Do relationships really have to be stressful and complicated?

Whether you are struggling with romantic, family or work relationships, there are ways to keep things simple between you and the people you care for:

Cheerleading Clipart

Be a cheerleader to others.  Make it a habit to find something good to say to your partner, family members or co-workers every day, and you will soon feel better about each other!

If you really have to say something negative, suggest the opposite, positive behavior instead.  “I wish you can be on time” is more encouraging than “I wish you won’t be late”.  Focus on the behavior and not the person.  You can say “Please just remind me
once” instead of “You’re such a nagger!”.

calm-down-intro

Keep cool when the other person is too emotional.  A shouting match is not likely to resolve your conflict. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.   If needed, suggest that you discuss the matter when both of you are more calm and objective.

Keeping our relationships healthy and strong takes time and effort, but once you develop good communication habits, it will be much simpler and most rewarding!

Making new habits for the new year?

A new year gives us a fresh start, and If you are like a lot of people, new-year-resolution-cartoon-1you probably resolved to start something new, like losing weight, or getting more organized. But a study by the University of Scranton reveals that only 8% of people achieve their new year’s resolutions!

How can you sustain your good intentions until they become part of your life?  Here are some suggestions:

  •  Set concrete, measurable goals. It’s easier to work on a goal like “list 1 thing to be thankful for each day” than “be positive” or “be grateful”.
  • one-step-at-a-timeWork on one small goal at a time. Any change brings some stress, and you want to give yourself just the right amount of challenge. Once you feel you have reached your goal, celebrate and move on to the next level! It usually takes 3 weeks to form a new habit … and you can give yourself a month for good measure!
  • Set up your environment to make it easy to achieve your goal. ForGym-Bags example, if you resolve to go to the gym regularly, fix your gym visits in your calendar, and get your gym bag ready the night before. If your goal is to eat healthy, throw out the junk food and always have a stock of healthy foods in your refrigerator.

Some people may need help giving up a bad habit or starting a new habit.  You can ask a friend or family member to give you friendly reminders and moral support.   A life coach or counselor may also help you deal with distractions and stay focused on your goals.  Call us for more details!

Here are some of our training topics …

PERSONAL WELLNESS AND PRODUCTIVITY

  • Anger Management 101. Understanding your temper triggers.  Managing your anger.  Tips on dealing with someone who is angry.
  • Dealing with Depression. Self-assessment: are you depressed?  Tips on how to move out of depression.  Helping someone who is depressed.
  • Getting Through Quarter Life Crisis. Understanding life transitions.  Identifying your life goals and values.  Checking your alignment.  Getting on track.
  • HabitForming Secrets. Identifying habits to work on.  Setting up your new habit.  Staying motivated to keep your new habit.
  • Moving on from Loss. Understanding grief.  Identifying your coping strategies.  Healing painful memories.  Rebuilding your life.
  • Overcoming Anxiety and Fears. Identifying what’s behind your anxiety.  Evaluating and challenging your fears.  Developing serenity.   Relaxation exercise.
  • Relationship Builders. Identifying relationship killers that harm your relationships.  Discovering how to enhance and enrich your relationships.
  • Resiliency Training.  Understanding what makes a person resilient.  Identifying your strengths.  Focusing on what’s important.  Developing flexibility.
  • Self-Confidence: Developing An Assertive Attitude.  Differences between passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour.  Knowing your assertive rights.  Challenging fears of being assertive.
  • Stress Management by Thinking Cool. Understanding your stressors.  Shifting from “stressed out” to “cool thinking”.  Turning cool thoughts into actions.
  • Work Life Balance. Identifying priorities.  Assessing your current lifestyle.  Time management tips.  Maintaining your action plan.
  • Working Smart: Time and Task Management Tips.  Identifying time wasters.  Prioritizing and scheduling tasks.  Keeping your focus.  Developing margin.

LEADERSHIP

  • Employee Coaching Skills. Coaching and your role as a people developer.  Understanding the Coaching Roadmap.  Practicing basic coaching skills:  listening, asking questions, giving feedback.
  • Giving Feedback. Feedback as a development tool.  Giving positive feedback as a habit.    Giving constructive feedback comfortably & effectively.
  • Listening to Your Team. Listening to understand.  Listening to empower.  Listening for solutions.   Body language do’s and don’ts.
  • Resolving Conflicts In Your Team. Your role as a Lead.  Working towards mutual understanding and shared goals.  Avoiding common pitfalls.

TEAMWORK AND INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

  • Assertive Communication. Differences between passive, aggressive and assertive communication.  Putting POOH into your communication:  proactivity, ownership, objectivity, heart.  Practical tips and techniques.
  • Effective Team Relationships. Understanding behavioural styles. Developing versatility in your behavioural style.  Relating effectively with people with different behavioural styles.  Creating synergy from your differences.  (ideal for one team to attend together)
  • Preventing Workplace Bullying. Defining what is considered “bullying”.  Effects of bullying on the team and the team member.  Coaching the bullies and the bullied in your team.  Advocating respect in your workplace. (for Leads and Managers).
  • Relationship Builders. Identifying relationship killers that harm your relationships.  Discovering relationship builders to enhance and enrich your relationships.

FAMILY LIFE

  • Parenting Tips
  • Relationship Builders
  • Secrets of a Healthy Marriage
  • Strengthening Your Family

SPECIALIZED COURSES

  • Dealing with Sexual Harassment Cases. Covers legal and psychological aspects of sexual harassment.
  • Peer Support Training. Helping a team member in crisis:  when might you need to do this?  Developing empathic listening skills.  Practicing Psychological First Aid.  Do’s and don’ts.

Empowering People @ Work