The Gambia observed World Mental Health Day 2017 through a series of commentary activities aimed at mobilizing support and action for healthier work places. Translating this year’s theme - Mental health in the Work place – into action, the national coordination team spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in collaboration with WHO Country Office, national mental health platforms, civil society and other partners have moved from the usual political statements to actual engagement of the stakeholders concerned to discuss mental wellbeing at their places.
Banks and other private sector outfits, diplomatic missions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, institutions have been visited to hold open dialogue and discussions on the significance and mechanisms for promoting mental wellbeing at the work place. This was facilitated through a two-week public sensitization campaign on mental health, using both public and private media, and practical engagement of stakeholders by the national mental health platforms –No Health without Mental Health and Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Program – of which WCO is an active member.
Some of the key outcomes of the two-week activity are as follows:
About 500 stakeholders (Chief Executive Officers, Directors, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and staff) were engaged in dialogue to promote mental well-being at the workplace. Among those visited include British Embassy, United States Peace Corps, Standard Chartered Bank, Forum for African Women Education, Activista Action Aid, Gambia Teachers Union, National Youth Council, Young Men Christian Association and the Department of Social Welfare.
WHO visibility was enhanced through sharing of WHO information products on mental health and well-being, dissemination of the Regional Director’s statement through the local media and open discussions on WHO’s role in promoting mental well-being at the workplace
Learning from the institutions visited during the campaign, WCO will provide further guidance and support to develop and implement cost-effective interventions for the promotion of mental well-being at the workplace.