Cancer can be a major curveball in anyone’s life, and it can happen to anyone, especially when you least expect it. The stress that comes with it can likely affect a person’s recovery.
Thankfully, Elena Low has a supportive employer who helped her pull through the ordeal.
Ms Low, who is in her 60s, said: “As a cancer survivor, it makes me realise that I should not take my health for granted.”
The Yishun Health Senior Administrative Assistant added that she is glad her employer has provided her with an avenue to participate in the various wellness programmes and activities.
She added: “Not only do I feel healthier, it [the initiative] has made me realise how important it is to take care of my overall well-being, both physically and mentally, so that I can better care for my ageing parents.”
Looking Out for One Another
Under the National Healthcare Group, Yishun Health comprises Admiralty Medical Centre, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), Yishun Community Hospital, and community extensions such as Wellness Kampung.
Yishun Health, with a 4,600-strong workforce, has been actively promoting not just physical but mental wellness too.
The issue of mental health was in the spotlight at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline workers have reportedly suffered burnout as they pulled long hours amid manpower shortages during the pandemic as patients filled up hospital beds.
Yishun Health has a formal peer support group called Peers Around Lending Support (PALS), established in 2010. Yishun Health staff who need mental wellness support can head over to PALS, which is led by staff trained in psychological medicine, social work and counselling.
During orientation programmes for new hires, staff will be briefed on the available peer support group and the need to look out for fellow colleagues.
Emails are also regularly sent to staff containing information on well-being and reaching out to the peer support group for help when needed.
Other initiatives rolled out during the pandemic to boost staff well-being included regular town halls, wellness passes to give staff time off to recharge, and activities such as mindfulness workshops and exercise classes.
For its role in promoting mental well-being, Yishun Health was one of the eight organisations awarded the Culture of Acceptance, Respect and Empathy (CARE) Award during this year’s Workplace, Safety and Health (WSH) Awards.
Yishun Health was also the only healthcare institution to receive the inaugural award.
Yishun Health CEO Prof Chua Hong Choon said that providing quality patient care and ensuring staff well-being have always been the organisation’s priorities.
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Melvin Yong, who presented the award, said: “The CARE Award introduced by the WSH Council for the first time is a result of our calling for a dedicated award to showcase and encourage exemplary mental well-being practices at the workplace.
“Mental wellness should be of equal priority as physical well-being because both mind and body work in synergy. With a concerted effort to improve the cognitive health of workers in the workplace, we can aim to reduce the number of incidents and injuries at the workplace.”
All for Mental Health
Yishun Health regularly partners with the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) to organise activities for staff and union members to promote well-being.
Earlier this month, Yishun Health organised a wellness bazaar at KTPH, where HSEU participated.
Yishun Health will continue organising various activities and events as part of its ongoing Wellness Festival.
One such activity is a fitness challenge through a mobile phone application, which has been downloaded by more than 2,700 of its staff so far.
The Wellness Festival will run until 10 October in conjunction with World Mental Health Day.