Dr. Frank Magwegwe – Corporate Wellness Executive at Sanlam – is spot on … South Africa is sleepwalking into a mental health crisis with a workforce under enormous strain.

Magwegwe recently wrote a column for BusinessLive where he highlighted that the mental health crisis in South Africa was costing the economy around R200bn per year.

Pointing out that South Africans already carry a high-level of stress and are consistently exposed to things like violent crime, high-levels of retrenchments and stigmas against taking regular leave and self-care he notes:

“One of the best methods of helping someone struggling with their mental health is to create open and safe spaces for people to discuss their emotional states without the fear of judgment. A strong example of this in the workplace is the provision of employee assistance and wellness programmes that cover a range of psychosocial needs, grant employee access to professional mental health practitioners and equip employees with a range of tools to help them better understand their overall health, defined by the World Health Organization as the presence of physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.”

This is a topic we have written about quite extensively in recent weeks:

We have recently seen this first-hand talking to the management of a technology company who were looking for a proposal for a wellness solution. In speaking to the management, we heard:

  • “I’m desperately looking to get to the dentist and have had this nagging tooth-ache but I just can’t stop”
  • “I have a trapped nerve in my shoulder [possibly from bad posture] but I just never have time to stop and have some physio”
  • I’m so behind on filing my taxes and getting my drivers license renewed and I spend all day driving too and from work and realising that I still haven’t gotten to them”

All of these issues are very typical for the average South African and you can see how being in a constant state of mental and physical stress starts to manifest during the work day.

If this sounds like you and you’re struggling to take ownership of your time then you might enjoy the below video.

There are 168 hours in each week. How do we find time for what matters most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she’s discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”

Here’s wishing you a healthy and happy week!