15 Minutes with Longevity – Mental Illness


It may be considered a taboo topic, but mental illness is showing to be a growing pandemic in a number of South African workplaces. Unfortunately, it is not often a topic of conversation, due to the stigma it still holds. On this episode of 15 Minutes with Longevity looked this vital topic of mental illness in the workplace

Head of Human Resources at Investec and clinical psychologist, Marc Kahn, explains that one  in four people in the workplace are living with a mental condition. This proves that it is more of an issue than people let on. “Human beings generally subscribe to an ideology that it’s okay to be physically weak but not mentally weak, forgetting that the mind and the body work together,” he explains.

The most common types of mental illness include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression – This has to deal with moods, inner feelings.
  • Psychotic disorder and many others.

The symptoms are the same as those of a physical illness as the mind and the body follow the same trajectory. It is vital to listen to your body and mind, and to pay close attention to any changes that may occur.

There is gender variability when it comes to mental illness. The most common one seen in workplaces is postpartum depression, which directly affects women. This usually happens after a woman has given birth, has developed postpartum depression and returns to work in this delicate state. Women also tend to respond more to social pressures, while men tend to respond to financial pressures. Mental illness is dealt with under the same labour law as physical illness and therefore a person who suffers from mental illness has the same rights in the workplace as one who has a physical condition. Most companies have external psychological services that are available to their employees. Help available and accessible for those suffering from any type of mental illness in a workplace. If you feel that you, or one of your work colleagues is battling to cope, speak to your manger or human resources – helps is at hand.

Watch the video here.

Written by Siyanda Nkala