Mental health leaders are integral to the transformation of the field because these specialists are better equipped to advocate for their patients than other mental health professionals who have not undergone leadership training. Leaders are professionals who are senior in their field, with solid experience in areas like public health, psychiatry, and nursing. Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, it is often difficult to secure funding and resources for patients who need it. Mental health leaders are able to provide better care for patients by developing access to care, liaising with hospital administration, departments in government, as well as funders, to bring the best care possible to their patients. This forms the crux of mental health leadership – policy planning, the promotion of service development, and establishing beneficial relationships. In this way mental health leaders help to transform mental health care from the more conventional individual patient treatment, to an integrated multi-disciplinary system designed to provide patients with access to better resources and care.
Taking Your Power Back
One in six South Africans suffer from mental illness, but because of the stigma and prejudice surrounding mental health issues, there is little to no support for people in this demographic. When mental illness isn’t adequately addressed by a government, instances of chronic absenteeism in the workforce become more pronounced. The quality of work decreases, and employees are less effective and productive. Taking the prevalence of mental illness in South Africa into account, and the fact that mental health is not prioritized by the relative government departments, it stands to reason that the impact on the economy of a workforce struggling with problems related to mental illness can only be a negative one. By prioritizing mental health and providing patients with the appropriate care, the consequences will not only impact the individual, but the socio-economic climate as well.
At ZwavelStream we understand the limitations and impact of the political and socio-economic environment on mental wellbeing. Our mental health professionals are trained as leaders in their respective fields, which puts them in the unique position to provide enhanced patient care through effective advocacy. Influences like stigma and prejudice can negatively affect an individual’s mental state, which means we deal with our patients in a manner that is professional and respectful in order to restore and maintain their dignity. By providing support, understanding, and access to private psychiatric care, we establish a foundation on which healing can begin.
How Our Staff makes a Difference
It’s been said that the psychological state of millennials can be likened to a mental health crisis. Individuals from this generation have markedly higher reports of stress, anxiety, and depression than generations that came before, like the baby boomers and generation X. Not only is this crisis affecting general wellbeing, but it having a big impact on the millennial workforce, who have high levels of absenteeism, or the equally detrimental antithesis – working despite having their function impaired by mental illness. The result is a generation of a young adults with high potential, being held back by the limitations of mental illness.
Our mental health leaders aim to be a positive impact in the time of this crisis by taking four factors into consideration, namely Mindfulness, Coping strategies, Social influences, Policy planning.
Extensive research has shown how meditation can positively affect mental health. It reduces anxiety, promotes better sleep, improves concentration, and lifts the mood. Mindful meditation as a tool for combatting stress and anxiety works very well, and is implemented by our psychologists.
When it comes to navigating the often stormy waters of mental illness on a day-to- day basis, adequate management and organisational skills are very important. Our occupational therapists help patients develop and institute strategies for coping and self-care that are healthy and serve their goal of achieving and maintaining a sense of mental wellbeing.
People with mental illness often feel isolated in their struggle. By providing group therapy sessions, we give patients the opportunity to learn about their condition from different perspectives, and to share their experiences with people who understand what they are going through. We also encourage visits from family and friends as a way to establish and maintain healthy relationships.
Our mental health leaders are effective advocates for patients struggling to lead a fulfilling life with mental illness. Work is an especially big factor in this, where policies are not always helpful to someone in their current state. Absenteeism is a real problem, but so is working even though general functioning is reduced. In these matters, communication is opened between our mental health specialists and employers, to try and develop policies that are inclusive and diverse in order to best serve people with mental illness.