Levene Energy

Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace

By: Obim Ogbe, Group Deputy General Manager, Corporate Services

Conversations surrounding mental health remain a taboo subject, particularly in the context of African society, in general and especially in the workplace. There exists a stigma attached to anyone who suggests that they are going through a difficult time mentally. The implication being that such a person is seen as weak or ‘less than’. These can be harmful stereotypes, particularly when allied with the fact that it consequently prevents people dealing with such challenges to speak up and seek appropriate help. From firsthand experience, it is imperative to state categorically how important the support of loved ones, family, friends and colleagues is to people who experience challenges with their mental health, particularly in the midst of navigating life as an adult in the world we currently live in. Granted, practically everyone experiences one form of pressure or the other, whether it be at work or at home, professionally or personally. However, by virtue of the fact that we are all created uniquely, it goes without saying that we react to pressures (external or otherwise) in different ways. Therapists can confirm that in some cases, the effects of mental health challenges on a person’s anatomy can actually present in physical manifestation such that it can alter the way your body reacts and even weakens one’s immune system, leading to suffering other ailments that would typically not be directly linked to proper brain function.

It is with this in mind that we urge everyone to take conversations surrounding mental health seriously. Whether it be in a family unit, a religious community or even (and especially) in the workplace, considering that is where most adults spend a majority of their time, interacting with colleagues and/or customers and clients (depending on the sector they work in or their specific job function). At Levene Energy, our Health Management Organization (HMO) offers resources that help alleviate the effects of mental health challenges on members of staff and we encourage employees to take advantage of these resources.

For as long as human beings have been in existence, there has always been and will always be a need for support from a community. To anyone experiencing challenges and seeking professional help, just know that it is a marathon and not a sprint. So, take it one day at a time and all things considered, with proper guidance and the support of medical professionals and loved ones, know that better days are up ahead.

For comprehensive resources on mental health awareness, please contact a certified medical professional or your HMO.