Better Work Jordan mental health project receives industry feedback, factory approval

23 Sep 2021

AMMAN, Better Work Jordan has introduced its new mental health project at a key meeting with garment industry representatives in the country, presenting how the initiative seeks to support and help improve the mental health of workers in the sector.

Better Work Jordan industry specialists and factory management representatives discussed the intended project outcomes. Those agreed upon are: ensuring that garment factories have a mental health referral system to meet workers’ needs for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services and to implement practices to help workers become more resilient against mental health risks.

The participants examined the four-domain project scope: sector-wide assessment of mental health needs, the building of stakeholder capacity, accessibility of MHPSS support services, and awareness-raising action. They also discussed preliminary survey data gathered by Better Work Jordan on mental health challenges faced by workers, especially migrants and women, including physical and psychological stressors, such as working and living conditions and gender dynamics. The survey found that practices like verbal abuse, forced overtime and lack of safety in the workplace are key contributors to stress and mental ill-health.

Jordan’s garment sector employs 65,026 workers, 72 per cent of whom are women. Migrants make up 76 per cent of the workforce.

The benefits of tackling mental health and psychosocial support are helping workers become more confident and comfortable, increasing productivity, boosting profits, improving workplace stability, and preventing absenteeism.

Emphasising the need for effective awareness-raising among both workers and managers, Better Work Jordan specialists and the industry representatives agreed that impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate pre-existing mental health difficulties, to which female workers tend to be particularly vulnerable.

Under a 2019 sectoral collective bargaining agreement (CBA), garment factories were committed to providing workers with physical and psychological healthcare services.

The meeting planned the selection of mental health focal points from garment factories to coordinate with Better Work Jordan on the implementation of mental health project activities.  The selected focal points will be enrolled on training and awareness sessions related to Mental Health in collaboration with Better Work Jordan and they will facilitate safe and confidential referrals for the workers who need mental health and psychosocial support services; the way forward, the factories will nominate the focal points based on selection criteria shared by Better Work Jordan.

The approval and implementation of this project are an important stride toward stronger mental health and wellbeing for Jordan’s garment workers.

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