In a recent collaborative effort, Safaricom NSE (SCOM) and Minet Kenya organized a mental health forum to prioritize employee well-being. Themed “Unlocking Minds, Transforming Futures,” the event strategically brought together key stakeholders from the private sector and government, aiming to initiate a comprehensive approach to address workplace mental health concerns.

Renowned mental health experts, including Dr. Frank Njenga, Founder and CEO of Chiromo Hospital Group, and representatives from the Kenya Counselling Professionals Association, Dove International Mental Health Centre, and NACADA, actively participated in the forum. They delved into intricate aspects of mental health trends impacting the workplace, exploring themes such as finances, substance use, and relationships, with a specific focus on the work environment.

Paul Kasimu, Chief Human Resources Officer at Safaricom PLC, emphasized the organization’s unwavering commitment to the holistic health of its employees. He asserted, “Our employees’ comprehensive well-being takes precedence, and we have identified mental health as a significant concern here at Safaricom.” The forum operated with an ethos that aimed to deconstruct stigmas surrounding mental health issues, firmly believing that leadership must spearhead this crucial dialogue.

Representatives from the Ministry of Health and key private sector stakeholders, including the Federation of Kenyan Employers (FKE), the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM), ABSA, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Kenya Airways, and Kenya Healthcare Federation, actively participated in the event. In their collective discussions, they explored how investing in mental health and supporting staff not only represents a humane approach but also underpins a sound business strategy, marking an integral perspective for societal progress.

Lydia Macharia, Director of Employee Benefits at Minet, emphasized that an organization can only thrive when it fosters a healthy workplace. Her focus lies in the belief that a supported and empowered workforce becomes not just integral but essential, acting as the driving force propelling the entire entity forward. Minet’s thought leadership, renowned for delivering customized Employee Benefits with a special emphasis on wellness benefits, outlined a fervent commitment to comprehensive support through their robust Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Highlighting the critical global context, the forum underscored the pervasive prevalence of workplace mental health challenges, citing statistics from the World Health Organization. An alarming 75% of employees have grappled with these issues at some stage, with women in full-time employment being twice as likely as men to experience common mental health problems. This underscores a global imperative for organizations to institute measures that protect their employees’ psychological well-being.