The joy a person derives from his workplace depends largely on the type of cimate or atmosphere that exists in the place, Such an atmosphere affects the mental health disposition of a person. There are factors which determine the kind of mental environment a workplace or school possesses. These include job satisfaction, job security, promotion and advancement prospects, job schedules, inter and personal relations between management and workers etc.
The kind of environment generated by the above factors is directly related to whether or not the worker is having positive mental health in his workplace.
To many persons, their job is drudgrey. They derive no joy in what they are doing, but they must work to live, so they are compelled to do the job. Most people who work with machines, particularly in the industries are more prone to not deriving satisfaction in their jobs. They spend day in day out just monitoring what the machine is doing. Sometimes because of the monotony ot what they do, and the long hours of work, they even fail to see when things go wrong. Such a situation creates an unhealthy mental environment which can lead to other health problems.
Contrast a job that is challenging and meaningful to the worker generates a healthy mental environment which leads to job ausraction. A job that offers workers opportunities for initiative, constructive ideas, experimentation founded on well thought out ponesis, creates an environment which is mentally stimulating and challenging.
We nave used these two examples of working conditions to illutive ate the importance of congenial working environment to mental health. But there are other situations that can also generate positive mental health or in contrast negative mental health, As individuals, we have special likes and dislīkes and attitudes towards many things including the kind of jobs that abound. We believe that there are a number of individuals who are talked into getting into one profession or the other by parents and relations. It is fashionable to have a member of the family in that profession. These plans are made without taking into consideration the special aptitude of the person being planned for.
His attitude and prelerence are quite often relagated to the back ground. ‘This person is unlikely to get job satisfaction in this profession because he will not find it motivating and challenging.
No one is happy with the job he does especially if he is not sure of his job security, A very unwholesome atmosphere is created when a person leaves his work place in the evening, not being sure how long the job will last. It is the uncertainty that is demoralizing because the individual cannot make other concrete plans. Even where tenure of job has been established, constant harassment from superior officers can create job insecurity, and generate an unhealthy mental environment; whereas a job that is secured in terms of tenure as well as working conditions promotes an atmoosphere that is congenial to positive mental health.
No individual wants to stagnate in l.e job he does, whether for himself or for a corporate body such as the government, firm, an industrial establishment or an institution. Advancement in one’s job means more pay, and does not matter how long it takes one to advance from one stage to the other, there is satisfaction so long as the criteria for advancement is clearly outlined and that there is justice and fairness in the interpretation of guidelines. Lack of job prospects and advancement generate a climate which dampens the spirit of workers and leads to low productivity, More importantly, it kills the morale of the workers and reduces their mental health status.
A worker will best function in an area in which he is best suited or trained, There is nothing more frustrating than being given an assignment for which a worker has no special skill or has not undergone any training.
Again an assignment should be such that does not swumnp the worker. Occasional extra load of assignment to be accomplished within a given time can be understandable but when it becomes a regular routine because of the unwillingness of the management to hire additional hands an atmosphere detrimental to the mental and physical health of the worker is created.
The relationship between workers and the management or between workers and their immediate superior officers goes a long way to determining the mental health disposition of workers while at work. A cordial and friendly relationship creates a most congenial working atmosphere which in its wake promotes positive
mental health. Workers morale is often improved by discussion groups and case conferences on matters related to the working conditions in the establishment.
Healthy Mental Environment at School
An important component part of the school health programme is the provision of healthful school living environment. Healthful school living environment embraces all eftorts made to provide at school physical, emotional/mental and social conditions which are beneficial to the health and safety of students. This includes the provision of a safe and healthful school day, the establishment of interpersonal relationships favourable to mental health and atmosphere conducive to learning. While the importance of maintaining a health ful physical and social environment is acknowledged the major concem here is the promotion of healthy mental environment.
The tone of the school can have either positive or adverse effect on students’ desire to learn, or to identify themselves with their institution. Some students hate their school for various reasons şuch as for doing badly in public examinations, doing poorly in sports, being in a school with very well known “bad students”, being in a school whose administrators have double standards, being in a school where promises given by the authorities are broken without quams, being constantly haunted by teachers for alleged misde-meaanours which are unfounded, being in a school where bullying is
part of the school norm etc. All these can create an environment which may generate mental torture to students less able to absorb the impact.
On the contrary, students spirits are high when they are proud of their institution, probably because the students generally did well in their public examinations or in sports competitons. It may be because the general public holds the institution in high esteem because of its exçellence in one thing or the other. They may be happy with their institution because everyone is treated with happy respect and dignity, or because the personnel and teachers are mostly persons who can be relied upon and are fair in all their interactions with students. Beautiful scenery, clean and orderly environment and quiet surrounding for the enjoyment of leisure time can also contribute to healthful emotional well being.
The obvious conclusion is that students who attend institutions that provide a healthy mental/emotional environment are more likely to do well in their studies than those who attend institutions which generate unhealthy emotional/mental environment. The tragedy of unhealthy mental environment generated by the climate and tone of a school is not that students’ performance is most likely to be poor, but that the impact is likely to generate anti-social behaviour such as delinquency, lack of respect to constituted authority, destruction of property, frustration, aggressiveness and such like behaviours. School authorities, administrators and other school personnel must be aware of the implications in a situation where an institution of whatever level of learning does not provide a healthy mental environment.