Mental Health
A senior research associate based in a top university called for the promotion of mental health in the workplace, especially for the working women.

In her talk at Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Feb. 27, Creselda O. Doble of Ateneo de Manila University, emphasized that the women are prone to mental health illness owing to their multitasking roles at home and the office.

“Before going to work, mothers usually prepare their children to school, cook for the household members, or instruct the household help on the matters to be done for the day. While at the office, working mothers also regularly check on what’s happening in the house,” Doble said during the Institute’s kick off activity for this month’s celebration of the Women’s Month.

Based on a 2016 region-wide survey commissioned by HappyFresh in Singapore, working mothers in five Asian countries, including the Philippines, 43% of working mothers spend at least an hour doing household chores each day. More than half of the respondents also work on office matters during late nights and weekends.

“The workplace is a predominant domain in an individual’s working life and an ever-changing panorama to which people must adapt. [As such], mental health and well-being has moved up the agenda for employers. Good mental health is important as it allows people to develop in many ways – emotionally, mentally, intellectually and socially. It also benefits the places where people live and work, leading to social development and economic growth,” she explained.

Doble said that the country’s culture, which emphasizes “resilience and humor” amidst challenges, makes it difficult to talk about mental illness. She cited a 2014 report of the World Health Organization, which showed 2,558 Philippine cases of suicide due to mental health problems in 2012.

To foster good mental health, Doble recommended that agency officials should ensure a well conceptualized performance management strategy and create a “positive team culture.” She also added that mental health problems can be helped through support group, talking therapies, and medications.

“Although our knowledge of mental health issues has increased over the past few decades, employers and enterprises have lagged behind in their understanding and acceptance of the pervasiveness, treatment, and impact of mental health problems on organizational life….The good news is that all mental health problems can be helped,” she said.

PhilRice’s Gender and Development Focal Point System spearheaded the activity. With the theme, We Make Change Work for Women, the celebration is pursuant to Proclamation No. 224 s. 1988, Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988, and Republic Act (RA) 6949 s. 1990.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute