In line with its commitment towards giving back and impacting lives, UBA Foundation – the corporate social responsibility arm of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc kicked-off a week-long series of activities aimed at promoting mental health awareness for staff and customers starting with a panel session on Wellness at the Workplace.
Whilst studies revealed that over 19% of adults struggle with their mental health every year, a majority of those affected are reluctant to speak-out and seek help for fear of stigmatisation, UBA Foundation, through the panel discussion, sought to address the challenges that individuals are facing and how it has now become important to create consciousness and prioritise the general well-being of employees and clients.
UBA’s Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, delivered a good will message at the event emphasising the importance of wellness and mental health. He stressed the need for more organisations to ensure that the mental health of their staff and families are taken more seriously.
He said, “UBA has always engaged in a lot of ground-breaking initiatives and the issue of mental health is important to us. We have found that people do not want to talk about mental health because they think it is bad, but the truth is that you can only get good productive people when challenges like these are addressed and I am so happy that this has commenced here.”
The panel was moderated by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, who spoke about UBA’s goal to remain the best place to work. She noted that the bank is addressing these issues and championing the narrative that says that mental health issues shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.
“We want to create a workplace environment where people feel comfortable and encouraged to seek help when necessary, so that they can give the best of themselves in their respective roles. We hope to stomp out the stigma that keeps people suffering in silence and bridge the gap between mental health inclusivity, support and recovery in Africa,” Atta who is also UBA’s Group Head Corporate Communications, explained.
The panellists, UBA’s Group Head, Human Resources, Patricia Aderibigbe, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, BTH Therapy, Chris Abojei, Co-founder Africa’s Health Matters Foundation, Vanessa Adebayo and Angel Yinkore all agreed that wellness, especially at the workplace, has become a front burning issue and should be well addressed.
Atta announced the partnership with UBA Foundation and Inside Out as part of the weeklong activities to shine some light on mental health. Inside Out aims at teaching youths to channel their feelings through art expression and photography. She added that staff members would be able to benefit from free therapy sessions from BHT Therapy and many wellness giveaways such as spa and fitness vouchers.
Another major highlight of the week was an intimate discussion with the Founder, Genevieve Magazine, Betty Irabor, on Thursday, November 11th, where she will share insights around her personal journey and the realities of balancing life, family, and mental health.