Lesotho (National University of Lesotho) Law Seminar on Mental and Financial Health at Workplace

The Faculty of Law planned an initiative to empower staff on mental and financial health at the workplace. This initiative was based on the fact that employees spend most of their time at work, therefore, this is the place where they should get peace of mind and, most importantly, be in a conducive environment for them to be productive.

The seminar was held on the 10th February 2023. There were three (3) guest speakers – namely, Ms. Tholoana Ntene who is the Director of Student Affairs at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), Mr. Sello Ramokanate – the Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse & Midwifery at Health Care Unit, Berea Hospital and Mr. Tokiso Nthebe – the Principal Officer, Lesotho Umbrella Fund & Founder, TKO Consultancy.

The seminar was intended to raise awareness on issues of both mental and financial health in the workplace. This was to advise staff that mental health is not only about psychiatric disorders but also includes many common challenges, such as stress, depression and anxiety. It also aimed at empowering on protecting employees from challenges of mental health through discussions on adopting healthy coping mechanisms.

In her presentation, the Director of Students Affairs, Ms. Tholoana Ntene, stated that this calls for NUL Management to make appropriate arrangements to support staff mental health since the Counselling Unit on campus is mandated to assist only the students. Unfortunately, that excludes NUL staff. This, despite their (DSA) realization that staff also experience mental health challenges which may adversely affect their productivity.

The Psychiatric and Health Nurse Mr. Sello Ramokanate, touched on different aspects that need to be looked at when dealing with mental health such as; underlying factors; signs of compromised mental health in the workplace; fostering positive mental health at the workplace; developing a sense of assertiveness; communication; appreciation of collaboration versus competition; value clarifications as well as nutrition and hydration. He further indicated that workplaces should develop dedicated mental health plans/policies and tips for dealing with mental health situations.

The point of departure was a discussion on financial freedom.  A financial expert, Mr. Tokiso Nthebe emphasised that participants should know how to make money and how to manage it in order for them to be financially healthy. He highlighted that financial planning includes the drawing up of a budget and sticking to it. In his presentation, Mr. Nthebe advised and recommended that the percentage for saving should be 35% of one’s income. He emphasised the importance of investing, planning for retirement, buying of annuities as well as extra savings to top-up the retirement package.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law Dr. Letzadzo Kometsi extended his gratitude to the special guests for charging nothing to come to NUL and deliver their presentations to staff. Dr. Kometsi mentioned that employees usually spend most of their lives at work and are likely to meet challenges to which they react differently.

“The combination of these two experts coming from the diverse fields is useful for providing useful advice on how to handle our salaries, exploring various options of investment and a better use of our hard earned salaries. Mr. Ramokanati talked about how to maintain a good health of our mental faculties and appreciate little things in order to maintain happy lives”, Dr. Kometsi added.