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A Psychiatrist, Dr Jubril Abdulmalik, on Wednesday said hostile working environment could trigger mental health problems.

Abdulmalik, who works at the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, spoke at a sensitisation workshop on mental illness.

The workshop was organised by the Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme, in collaboration with the Oyo State Ministry of Health.

Abdulmalik said that it was the legal duty of employers to protect, not only the physical health of employees but their mental wellbeing.

“A work environment that is hostile and stressful negatively impacts on the mental health of its employees.

“There is improved productivity in a work environment that protects and promotes mental health.

“Everyone, including the employers and employees, has a role to play in fostering a friendly and conducive workplace,” he said.

The psychiatrist said that workplace bully, harassment and violence should be discouraged in every workplace.

According to him, mental illness is a broad spectrum of simple issues of anxiety and depression to psychosis.

“Low level of awareness and social stigma affect workers’ access to treatment.

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“Employers are encouraged to work in collaboration with mental health experts to devise a creative system to make the quality care being offered more accessible to employees.”

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan, said that work-related stress could make it difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle.

“As we all know, the workplace can have a major impact on a person’s mental wellbeing.

“Work-related stress encourages unhealthy habits; promotion of mental health within the workplace will, therefore, have positive impacts.

“Healthy employees are happy ones; when the workplace environment is supportive, it increases the level of confidence and coping mechanism,” he said.

Also, Dr Victor Lasebikan, a former Chief Consultant Psychiatrist, State Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, urged the state government to employ more psychiatrists.

Lasebikan said: “As of today, the whole of Oyo State has just one psychiatrist in its services.

“The state government needs to create more openings for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in its services so that people can easily get access to quality care.”

Lasebikan also urged the state government to give its psychiatrist unit space where the homeless mentally ill persons could be rehabilitated.

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