Daniela Calleja Bitar

Richmond Foundation CEO Daniela Calleja Bitar has said that there has been plenty of progress in terms of protecting employees’ mental well-being, yet employers still need to do much more.

She was speaking during a conference held by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in collaboration with Richmond Foundation.

Ms Calleja Bitar remarked that mental health is changing, especially at the workplace.

She said that apart from having a workplace which is more satisfied and productive, when an employer makes sure to take care of the mental health of their employees, it will be translated into improved economic results.

“There have been many strides forward from employers when it comes to increases in benefits and implementation of sustainable programmes,” she stated.

Ms Calleja Bitar pointed out that with the genuine willingness from everyone to take better care of mental health, “we can do so much more.”

From her part, Minister for Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector Julia Farrugia Portelli emphasised that people with mental health conditions can be employed and included at the workplace.

Julia Farrugia Portelli
Minister for Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector Julia Farrugia Portelli during the conference

She said that Government is working to not only contribute to create a supportive environment, but to also have systems of best practice.

“Teleworking, flexitime, and other practices such as the Employee Support Programme offer support to those employees who are going through difficult moments. However, the inclusion of people who are going through mental health difficulties does not start and end with the public service, but it is also a strong element of the private sector,” Minister Portelli said.

David Spiteri Gingell, a consultant who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, shared his experience during the conference.

“In my career of more than 40 years, my experience with this condition at the workplace, together with the actions of my colleagues and superior, have fully influenced my approach towards mental health and well-being,” he said.

David Spiteri Gingell
Consultant David Spiteri Gingell during the conference

He commented that these have become his main priorities in life.

During the conference, Mr Spiteri Gingell spoke about his professional journey while also sharing a number of practical ideas about how one can manage mental health both at a personal level and also at the workplace.

CRPD Commissioner Rhoda Garland noted that people with mental health conditions are included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been transposed in Maltese law.

The conference also featured a discussion lead by a number of professionals who spoke about how employers can offer support to people with mental health conditions at the workplace so that they can also be included in the organisation.

They focused on aspects such as fostering a culture of psychological security, non-visible and visible disabilities, and creating an atmosphere of appreciation and acceptance instead of stigma.

Denis Vella Baldacchino, Commissioner for the Promotion of Rights of Persons with Mental Disorders, was also present for the conference.

Featured Image:

Richmond Foundation CEO Daniela Calleja Bitar during the conference

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