Oct 10, 2021

In conjunction with the World Mental Health Day 2021, and under the slogan "Mental Health in an Unequal World", Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) organized on Sunday morning 10 October 2021 "Mental Health of Workers in Education and Rehabilitation Seminar". SCHS depend on its strategic objectives that emphasize providing a stimulating and supportive work environment, while following standards of excellence, quality and efficiency. It depend on its approach to supporting equality, diversity and human well-being.

The seminar aims at highlighting the importance of mental health of workers in the education and rehabilitation, presenting and exchanging experiences and successful experiences of institutions in the field for enhancing the well-being of the work team. In addition, the seminar offers solutions and guiding lines for organizations towards developing a strategy to promote mental health in the field of work, and to enhance the quality of people’s professional life and people with disabilities in work environments.

Muhammad Abdel Moneim Qeshta, Rapporteur of the Council of Psychologists in SCHS and Coordinator of the seminar stressed institute's keenness to provide more information, exchange experiences, and propose solutions and policies. This would support the mental health of workers in the field of education and rehabilitation in particular and in workplaces in general.

(Mental health policies and programs in the work environment)

Within the first theme of the seminar, under the title (Mental Health Policies and Programs in the Work Environment), speakers presented four topics. Dr. Fatima Al-Mansour, Trainer and Consultant at the Family Development Foundation initiated the first one.

Dr. Fatima spoke about the Mental Clarity Guide in the work environment issued by the Health Education Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah. She also defined mental clarity, the need to practice its techniques within the work environment, and the benefits of using its mechanisms to achieve the best results.

The title of the second topic is (The importance of employee mental health)

Mrs. Heba Issa Al Hamrani, Director of Financial and Administrative Affairs at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, discussed the efforts of SCHS to ensure the mental health of workers. She also talked about the role and importance of mental health in increasing productivity and quality of work and creating an attractive work environment for employees that motivates them to work and progress.

Ms. Heba spoke about the human capital in SCHS. The number of its employees has reached 638, including 59 employees with disabilities.

She pointed to a recent study conducted by the University of Plymouth on a sample of 427 people working in the field of social work in Britain, most of whom work with persons with disabilities. The results of this research led to the presence of significant levels of chronic stress and emotional eating as a mechanism for dealing with work-related stress. .

Some of the results were as follows:

75% have an eating disorder (emotional eating).

63% suffer from sleep disturbances.

56% are emotionally exhausted.

15% received prescriptions for antidepressants.

35% of people feel they cannot handle work difficulties any more

She talked about two types of pressures that employees face: (professional pressures) and (personal pressures).

She also talked about how SCHS dealt with various employee pressures through work policies, administrative procedures, work environment and social initiatives. This contributed greatly to achieving job security and reducing the number of resignations, thus achieving a higher degree of belonging and remarkable career development.

Ms. Heba concluded her presentation by quoting His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who said:

"Our first concern in Sharjah was and still building humans"

Self-help and mental health

Dr. Maryam Abdullah, a psychologist at the Ishaq Bin Omran Center, spoke in the third presentation about self-help, mental health, the concept of self-care, how to take care of mental health, seeking help from specialists. In addition to the most important challenges and pressures faced by the employee within the work environment, and how to deal with it.

Dr. Maryam stressed the importance of mental health in the work environment. Physical health and mental health are important for the employee to perform his job duties well.

The desire and psychological comfort at work drive the employee to accomplish his tasks with greater ease and flexibility and push him to provide more. In addition, the fact that job security is very important for the employee’s feeling of peace of mind and avoiding worrying about losing his job or his professional future and thus better focusing on his job tasks. Employer’s emphasis on appreciation is one essential factor to motivate the employee to continue his productivity and support creativity and excellence in his work.

She referred to studies that confirm the low rates of absenteeism in the workplace, which promotes mental health and supports people with mental disorders. This contributes to increasing productivity and thus benefiting from the economic gains associated with it.

Motivation to work as a team

Dr. Mariam emphasized that there is strong evidence that workplaces with higher levels of mental and psychological well-being are more productive. Well-being at work increases productivity by up to 12-15%.

Among the most important items mentioned by Dr. Maryam related to the role of institutions and employers in caring for the mental health of workers, is organizing training courses and career development programs to qualify employees in their field of work. This would enhance mental health by developing the positive aspects of work and employee strengths, in addition to supporting a healthy work-life balance continuous motivation and reward for employees.

Among these items are also motivating teamwork, developing a spirit of cooperation and association, providing the necessary health insurance, and cooperating with competent authorities to provide psychological support to workers. This would help and support workers in the face of mental disorders, and encourage them to seek help when needed without prior judgment and in complete secrecy.

Fatima Al-Gharabawi, Research Assistant at the University of Sharjah, discussed in the fourth presentation the promotion of mental health in the work environment and the most important strategies that individuals and institutions can use to promote mental health.

The Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy in SCHS presented a presentation entitled (Physical Therapy and Mental Health). It addressed the most important factors related to physical health and mental health, and many ideas that support mental health during work.

Mental health and quality of life of workers in education and rehabilitation

The second theme of the seminar under the title (Mental Health and Quality of Life of Workers in Education and Rehabilitation) included five presentations. Mrs. Thuwaiba Al Kindi (Coach at the International Coaching Federation) presented the first under the title "Happiness and Quality of Life for Employees", in which she talked about the most important techniques that support employee happiness and mental health.

Ms. Eman Ali Turki from the Health Education Department at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs presented the second presentation under the title (A Healthy Employee is a Productive Employee). She discussed the importance of the relationship between physical health, productivity and quality of work.

Mr. Faris Al-Hadi, the Resource Center for People with Disabilities at the University of Sharjah, spoke about the occupational safety of employees with disabilities within the work environment in the third presentation.

Dr. Zizt Mustafa from the College of Arts at the University of Sharjah spoke about mental health in light of crises and the most important challenges facing workers in education and rehabilitation in the fourth presentation.

Mr. Wael Allam, Director of the Education and Rehabilitation Department at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, discussed in the last presentation the importance of promoting the mental health of teachers by presenting a set of experiences and expertise in this field.