Civil servants and mental health issues
As mental health globally gains ground as a serious public health burden with an annual commemoration on October 10, the main focus has been on clients, victims and survivors of social issues such as wars, victims and survivors. natural disasters and medical illnesses.
However, the mental health of general service providers is often overlooked, with one small exception for indirect trauma that often affects those in contact with trauma survivors and related material.
Therefore, people end up blaming civil servants, managers, leaders / politicians and workers in civil society organizations for poor service delivery, incompetence, low motivation and toxic work environment, but good mental health of workers reciprocally contributes to better service delivery. Service delivery and the well-being of citizens are inseparable and interdependent.
Apparently, the incremental efforts and the government’s quest for quality service delivery are gaining momentum, necessary for services to reach citizens down to the grassroots, with many dynamic initiatives being carried out to achieve progress (example d wealth creation and parish model operation).
Meeting minimum standards of service delivery requires pragmatic commitment and the slogan “Akuna muchezo”, the slogan that has seriously raised citizens’ expectations for better service delivery.
It is unfortunate that each year a number of district leaders are accused of returning unspent service delivery money to the national treasury.
The parliamentary and district scorecards on the performance of elected leaders made headlines in the media and political campaigns about underperforming or poor performance in the recent general election in Uganda.
The assessment of worker mental health and its interaction with service delivery has been a missing undertaking and, as a result, service delivery and the well-being of citizens are being affected.
As a member of the Uganda Counseling Association (UCA) and an employee of an organization that loves mental health services, I can attest that mental health is real in the workplace and many symptoms qualify as indiscipline by managers.
For example, there are always or too many employees complaining, some are struggling with personal and work safety issues, employee absenteeism rates, and workers falling “sick” with unknown or undiagnosed illnesses. eminent, many are grappling with internal conflicts, instruction / directive issues, workload stress and pressure, technical details of the job, unresolved family or personal issues that workers carry to their desks , financial and loan problems and other normal everyday stresses.
Ultimately, their mental health, which drives productivity, is greatly affected, which has a negative effect on poor service delivery.
I therefore recommend the following; the relationship between mental health and employee productivity requires urgent exploration and analysis for deliberate action.
Clinical, counseling and industrial psychologists should help leaders, managers, employers and employees better understand the interconnectivity between mental health and employee performance, and its interaction on service delivery.
The civil service commission, ministries and government departments should deliberate on better strategies for employee mental health by considering recruiting psychologists for workers or by partnering with agencies such as the Uganda Counseling Association. (UCA) to provide capacity building and psychological / psychosocial support to our hardworking domestic workers in Uganda with the aim of reorganizing service delivery.
At the personal level, employees in the formal and informal sectors should explore the need for professional help from a psychologist.
Government leaders and parliament should support the advancement of legislation and interventions to promote worker mental health to minimize the level of bans and prosecutions of employees whose unresolved mental health issues are responsible for their behavior. disciplinary measures.
Mr. Okot Benard Kasozi is a Senior Psychosocial Research and Advocacy Officer in the office of the Refugee Law Project-Gulu.