Caring for relatives an old unwritten law

Health Watch

We are a society that cares for one and another as individuals and as a family living in Papua New Guinea.
Providing care for a family member is an old unwritten law of kindness, love, and loyalty.
Care giving has its fair share of stresses: changes in the family dynamics, household disruption, financial pressure and the sheer amount of work involved.
On the flip side you can be mentally healthy at work, with suggestions for what you can do and where you can get support if you experience poor mental health.
Is working good for my mental health?
Many people find that working is good for their mental health.
A job can help you look after your mental health by providing:
● A SOURCE of income;
● A SENSE of identity;
● CONTACT and friendship with others;
● A STEADY routine and structure; and,
● OPPORTUNITIES to contribute and gain skills.
We work together as a team and that gives us a sense of self-worth and builds our self-esteem.
At times your work may be affected by your mental health problem.
For example, if you are experiencing depression, you might feel so tired that you are unable to work but with support from your employer, you can make some changes to help manage and improve your mental health at work.

What if work is making my mental health worse?
If work is having a negative effect on your mental health, try to figure out what is causing this.
It could be:
● SUFFERING from workplace stress;
● HAVING poor relations with your colleagues;
● DOING a certain type of work;
● BEING treated unfairly because of your mental health problem (experiencing stigma);
● DECIDING whether to tell your employer about your mental health problem; and,
● WORRYING about returning to work after a period of poor mental health.
We are always using our ability to keep our anxiety hidden from our colleagues and see it as a sign of strength, until on that day it becomes impossible.
Should you have a mental health problem or not, your employer has a duty of care. You have the right to work somewhere safe. This means where any risks to your health are properly assessed and controlled.

  • Next week’s edition – What is disability discrimination?