Mental well-being is beneficial to both employees, and organizations as a whole, Amal Al Kazim, clinical psychologist at Emirates Airlines, said at a session organized by the psychology department at AUD last week.
“An employee is a human being, and taking care of an individual helps benefit both them and the organization as a whole,” said Al Kazim.
Through her experience of 16 years at Emirates Airlines, Al Kazim acknowledged that it is sometimes difficult to maintain a balance between work and one’s wellbeing. “Productivity and workload versus employee wellbeing is something difficult to contain. Especially that the airline industry involves a lot of unstable shifts and constantly changing routines, so employees are under more pressure,” she said. Individuals react differently to stress depending on the baggage they withhold, and it is important to know when to reach out in times of need.
Al Kazim conducts therapy sessions, assessments and treatment plans through the ‘Employee Assistance Program’ at Emirates Airlines. “Our role is to assist employees and their family members with personal and work-related challenges if they reach out to us, or if their line of management or medical services issue an official referral to our services.”
Al Kazim said that another major goal of the program is to raise awareness about the mental wellbeing of employees which helps run a healthier, and more efficient work environment throughout the organization.
During the talk, Dr. Viola Weber, Assistant Professor of Psychology at AUD, pointed out to the Germanwings 2015 air crash, which killed all 150 people on board. The crash was caused by a co-pilot who was reportedly suffering from a psychiatric disorder, which the airline was not aware of.
“This incident did cause a lot of global caution and brought a lot of attention to the wellbeing of employees around the world, especially in the airline industry,” said Al Kazim. She also said that it is not discreditable to go through mental challenges and ask for help, especially when it affects others along with personal and professional performance of an individual.
Amal Al Kazim is a Saudi clinical psychologist who has worked in hospitals and Employee Assistance Programs in France, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai. Her special interest lies in facilitating healthy relationships, and preventing mental health problems. The Employee Assistance Program started at Emirates Airlines in 2002.