The first wellness day was implemented at M-Care Optima in 2015. The need for the day was identified by looking at the leave tendency by personnel. It became evident that more attention had to be given to the general wellness of staff members in order for them to give quality care to the patients of M-Care Optima as well as to function optimally at their place of work. The day was well perceived by staff members and management. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committee therefore decided to continue with the project in 2016. It was decided that the day will be held twice a year in order to maintain the awareness and to enable the committee to monitor the changes made by staff members with regards to better their physical and mental health.
Planned dates for Wellness days: 18 May 2016 and 30 November 2017 will be a “walk for fun” in the Optima park to get them realizing the fun of exercising and building team spirit.
The data obtained with each wellness day will serve as a guide to indicate staff members that may be at risk for the development of more serious conditions.
In order to monthly monitor identified at risk staff member, particular attention will be on blood pressure and blood glucose, seeing that both are seen as silent killers if not detected early and adequately monitored.
Identified at risk staff members will be monitored regularly by members of the OHS committee. If, however, any staff member feels that he or she is in need of above mentioned service, they can freely approach the two identified staff members (service is thus monthly as wall as prn). The measurements obtained will be recorded in the staff member’s wellness profile. Any staff members identified with serious problems will be revered to their General Practitioner or nearest clinic for treatment.
The wellness days will thus serve as a means to monitor the improvement of personnel’s general health. This will be visible in individual improvement of data obtained as well as in the number of at risk individuals identified with each wellness day. All wellness days are compulsory for personnel from all categories.
The events we sponsored by companies / individuals whose services are used by Optima on a regular basis. Sr E Swartz is mainly responsible for organizing this event with assistance from all OHS committee members and available personnel on the day. The kitchen is responsible to supply a healthy snack for everybody attending the event.
Written and compiled by: Sr E Swartz (Head of Occupational Health and Safety committee)
Viral hepatitis is one of the biggest global health threats of our time:
Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions”.
But together we can eliminate viral hepatitis:
Proactive Management Is The Best Medicine For Mental Illness In The Workplace.
By Dr Ali Hamdulay
Mental illness in the workplace leads to decreased productivity, increased sick-related absenteeism, poor work quality, wasted materials and even compromised workplace safety. Despite the significant financial loss to employers and broad economy, many mental disorders fly below the radar in the workplace. A more proactive approach for managing mental illness in the workplace is a strategic imperative for South African employers.
Most employers tend to completely underestimate the financial impact of mental illness on their bottom-line. Increasing levels of mental illness drive up disability costs and demand more medical scheme spend. There is also a strong correlation between mental health disorders and substance abuse.
The South African Association of Social Workers in Private Practice estimates that 50% of workplace accidents is related to substance abuse. An undetected substance abuser can cost the employer 25% of that person’s wages.
However, in many workplaces, employees choose to suffer their mental illness in silence, fearing stigma should they speak out, while employers avoid asking too many questions, hoping mental health disorders will just disappear on their own.
Nevertheless, the latest Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) Report 2013-14 confirms that the prevalence of mental illness amongst medical schemes beneficiaries is rising. Total benefits per average beneficiary per month (pabpm) paid to psychiatrists increased by nearly 35% from 2011 to 2013. The total benefits paid to psychologists pabpm increased by 26% from 2011 to 2013, while the total benefits paid pabpm to mental health institutions from 2011 to 2013 increased by 58%.
The latest CMS data also shows that treatment for bipolar mood disorder (BMD) – a Prescribed Minimum Benefits condition and one of the top chronic conditions – increased by 173% from 2007 to 2012.
Unfortunately mental health issues in general are still poorly understood and often surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and fear. Many employees would ‘rather die’ than admit they suffer from a mental illness.
Despite increasing evidence of the connection between physical health and mental distress, when both mental and physical problems co-occur, doctors usually tend to focus on the physical problem. This often means the mental health issue remains untreated. Patients also ignore or play down mental illness. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), less than 16% of sufferers receive treatment for mental illnesses. However, when mental health issues are addressed, many patients report improvements in their physical health.
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting that depression will be the second highest cause of morbidity in the world by 2020, employers cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best.
A proactive approach for managing mental illness in the workplace is essential and it is heartening to see the increasing focus on proactively addressing the mental and emotional health of employees evident across both medical schemes and employers.
Like any chronic condition, mental illness can be managed successfully through disease management. Many companies have established specific programmes to manage depression, bipolar disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse amongst employees and medical scheme beneficiaries.
Some companies have also established Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to support employees dealing with issues that impact on mental health. To improve the efficacy of these programmes, appropriate linkages between EAPs and other interventions, such as scheme-level disease management, are important.
A company medical scheme’s rising spend on mental illness can also be proactively reduced by encouraging use of the workplace EAP, a valuable preventative tool to address issues fueling stress and impacting on mental health, before more serious mental illness conditions develop.
Mental illness is rising, and incurring high social and economic costs. Soon it could overtake HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of illness in South Africa. It’s time to take proactive action that will help to manage the impact of mental illness in the workplace.
Sources: Dr Ali Hamdulay, MBChB (UCT), MFamMed (Cum Laude) (Stellenbosch), Postgraduate Certificate in Health Technology Assessment (Stellenbosch), Senior Leader Programme (UCT), is the General Manager: Health Provider and Policy Unit at Metropolitan Health, www.mhg.co.za
26 June 2019
The United Nations General Assembly in 1987 decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) selects themes for the International Day and launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem. Health is the ongoing theme of the world drug campaign.
The South African government and its partners are implementing the National Drug Master Plan, 2013-2017, which is a collective effort towards a South Africa that is free of drug abuse. The drug master plan is a single document covering all national concerns regarding drug control; summarising national policies authoritatively, and defining priorities and allocating responsibility for drug control efforts (United Nations Drug Control Programme). The National Drug Master Plan prioritises strategies on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.
The Master Plan serves as the country’s blueprint for preventing and reducing alcohol and substance abuse and its associated social and economic consequences on South African society, and builds on the foundation laid down by government’s Programme of Action on alcohol and substance abuse.
The key outcomes of the five-year National Drug Master Plan are:
Harmonization and enforcement of laws and policies to facilitate effective governance of the alcohol and drug supply chain.
The Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act (Act 20 of 1992) and the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act 70 of 2008), provides for the establishment of programmes for the prevention and treatment of drug dependency.
The Central Drug Authority was established as an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country.
Alcohol abuse is a complex socio-economic issue that requires a multi-stakeholder and integrated approach towards a drug free society, captured in the National Drug Master Plan. Creating awareness of dangers of the substance abuse in society and effecting behavioral change are integral parts of the National Drug Master Plan.
What you can do
Government calls on all South Africans to join hands in the implementation of the national programme of action against substance and alcohol abuse.
Prevent elder abuse. June 15th is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day
Elder abuse is a significant public health problem. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. Elder abuse, including neglect and exploitation, is experienced by 1 out of every 10 people, ages 60 and older, who live at home. This statistic is likely an underestimate because many victims are unable or afraid to disclose or report the violence.
The following six types of maltreatment occur among persons over the age of 60.
Working to Prevent Elder Abuse
CDC works to prevent violence before it occurs. Our prevention activities include:
The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being exploited or abused in several ways. It is a problem that stems from biological, psychological, societal and financial issues related to the abused and the abuser.
According to the American Psychological Association, about 2 million seniors are victims of financial, psychological, and physical abuse as well as other forms of abuse (1).
Also, for every report of elderly abuse, five others go unreported. This means that estimates of elder abuse are likely even higher the 2 million figure.
According to the National Committee For The Prevention Of Elder Abuse, about 5 percent of the older population has suffered from some kind of abuse. As the population of seniors in the U.S. continues to expand, so will the issues related to elder abuse in our country.
In order to prevent the victimization of our elders in society, there are many things you can do. By informing yourself on the topic of elder abuse and actively raising awareness for this issue, this will help curb neglect or abuse occurring to elders. It will also force nursing home staff and management to become more accountable for the conditions and caretakers they provide, which will lower rates of abuse.
Ways To Reduce Elder Abuse
There are various potential causes that lead to elder abuse, such as under staffing of facilities or personal problems among caretakers. However, by understanding the ways to reduce rates of elder abuse overall, this will help prevent elder abuse from happening.
Steps you can take to prevent abuse of the elderly includes the following:
If you or someone you love is concerned that they have become a victim of any type of elder abuse, including financial abuse, discuss these concerns with a trusted family member, attorney, bank manager, clergy or close friend. If you are seeking help now, then you should consider a legal case review where you can tell your story and see what help is available to you.
There are also services provided by Adult Protective Services that can help determine if elder abuse is occurring. Find an Eldercare Provider today by calling you local social worker for assistance in making a informed choice for your loved one .
How can I protect the senior in my life from becoming a victim of abuse?
By identifying the risk factors of abuse for an elderly loved one in your life, you will stand a higher chance of preventing any form of abuse — before it even occurs.
There are various steps you can take to keep your loved one safe. These include the following:
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, talk to them directly or to the supervisor or medical director at the nursing home facility in which they reside. By encouraging them to open up to you about any concerns they may have about the care they are receiving, you will be prepared to assist them in getting out of the shroud of abuse.
Millions of young people will shortly be commencing studies at universities and colleges across the country. This is a time of great hope, opportunity and excitement for most students. However some students face specific challenges which can result in poor mental health.
Indeed, the National College Health Assessment indicates that around one in four students suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, while a much greater proportion report feeling overwhelmed (around 70 percent) or very lonely (around 60 percent). This demands concerted action.
Men and women on campus experience mental health issues in different proportions. Women have higher rates of depression, anxiety and eating disorders. In contrast, men have higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, and are less likely to use official mental health services.
The state of the youth and mental health crisis in South Africa 2018
SADAG has released these figures:
Throughout this year we have heard of more and more university students who don’t cope under the pressure and aren’t able to cope with their problems, which has resulted in many suicides on campus. University students experience depression, stress and anxiety every day – sometimes without any knowledge they are suffering from a mental illness.
Clinical psychologist and SADAG board member Zamo Mbele says, “Unfortunately this has led to many suicides which we can’t afford as a caring society.
“Depression does not discriminate”
Depression does not discriminate – it can affect any race, age, gender or religion. It’s important that parents, teachers, grandparents, loved ones and entire communities know that depression can affect young people too, even a 6-year-old child.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of depression, the suicide warning signs and how to get help before it is too late.
“From the hundreds of calls that SADAG receives every day, children, teens and young adults are dealing with many problems they feel they can’t handle,” says operations director Cassey Chambers.
The main triggers include relationship problems, family issues, abuse, loss or grief and trauma. Other contributing factors include exam stress, substance abuse, bullying, learning difficulties, financial issues and chronic illness.
“The youth are not equipped with enough coping skills or support structures to handle the kind of problems that they have to deal with every day”, says Chambers.
By creating awareness and information we can educate more people on how to help young people in SA and get them help before it is too late.
“With the matric final exams about to start, as well as all other exams for other grades and at universities – students will be dealing with increased pressure and stress, on top of everything they have been dealing with throughout the year,” says Zamo Mbele.
The old African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child is no truer than with mental health now. Empowering teachers, parents, grandparents, churches, friends and family about the issues of youth and mental health is critical if we want to be able to get young people help before it is too late, and help prevent youth suicides.
According to Celebrity and Youth Ambassador, Penny Lebyane, “Mental Health is currently a great challenge for the youth and we need ways to help them understand how the mind works and what help is available. Mental health is where it all starts and can end.”
For more information, visit www.sadag.org