Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský has sent a letter to foreign ministry staff asking them to find a better balance between professional and personal lives, after three Czech diplomats aged 46 to 55 died suddenly in the past five months, APA reports citing POLITICO.
In the letter Lipavský asks foreign ministry employees not to underestimate the need to care for their physical and mental health.
“Do not to forget that every job, including ours, has its own values and ambitions, but also ‘healthy’ boundaries,” read the letter, adding that it would be advisable to find a balance between work and family life.
The deaths of the three diplomats, who died of natural causes, “show that the position of a diplomat involves working in extremely difficult conditions and often in isolation from family,” Lipavský said.
“Our colleagues carry out this service even in war zones under tight security measures with limited mobility in the country of posting. Diplomats are exposed not only to great pressure in their professional and personal lives, but also to often difficult climatic conditions.”
Lipavský said his ministry is ready to make changes to help diplomats cope with the pressures of their work. The measures being discussed include increasing psychological services for diplomats and their families.
“There is a support system at the ministry of foreign affairs, including a psychologist,” Czech Ambassador to the EU Edita Hrdá said. Lipavský’s letter also concerns permanent representation employees.
“Before the presidency, we reflected on how to avoid overwork and burnout,” Hrdá added, referring to her country’s six-month stint at the helm of the Council of the EU, which concluded at the end of 2022. “As a matter of principle, we abide to having free weekends. During the presidency, when it was possible, at least one day a week completely free.”
Note that the Czech Republic’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel Monika Studená died suddenly at the age of 50. In February, Jakub Dürr, the Czech ambassador to Poland and former permanent representative of the Czech Republic to the EU, died aged 46. And in November 2022, the Czech Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Kateřina Fialková died suddenly at the age of 55.