Renowned psychologist Chioza Bandawe has spoken of the need for employers to invest in wellness
programmes to help reduce cases of mental stress among employees at work places.
Making a presentation at the Institute of People Management Malawi (IPMM) continuing
professional development workshop in Blantyre last Friday, Bandawe said Zomba mental hospital
receives 1500 admissions a year resulting from different kinds of disorders mostly developing
through depression, mental illness and chamba smoking.
Said Bandawe: “We have noticed a huge increase in cases of mental disorder due to depression
following stress and anxiety in the work place. People are becoming more affected by the pressures
that are put on them and they end up being depressed, not being able to concentrate and in worst
situations suffer mental disorder.
“This has led to reduced productivity due to increasing absenteeism and reduction of the amount of
work out put one is expected to give out.”
The associate professor in the Department of Mental Health at the University of Malawi’s College of
Medicine also called on employers to establish employer assistance programmes where employees
can meet and talk about issues that affect them.
According to Bandawe, regular exercises and being aware of stress indicators also help in preventing
sicknesses and diseases such as cardiovascular diseases as well as loss of immunity which are
associated with depression.
IPMM secretary general Michael Ndaferankhande said employee wellness is one of the key people
management issues that improves productivity.
“Great business results become sustainable through excellent leadership behaviours. People do not
leave organisations, they leave leaders. Therefore, it is all about people management,” he stressed.
The theme for the daylong workshop was ‘energising business leadership: focus on human capital
Participant to the workshop were also briefed on change management, team building and other
critical challenging areas leaders in organisations face.