It’s been 28 years since 10th October was first recognized as World Mental Health Day. This began as a way to spread mental health awareness and educate people about relevant issues. But with 61% of Indians currently suffering from these concerns, don’t you think mental health awareness deserves more than just one day?
Going Beyond The Stigma!
With heavy societal pressure on those suffering from any mental health related disorder, one needs to double the efforts to break such ridiculous and archaic norms. From an organizational perspective, the best way of going about this is to conduct sensitization workshops. Employees across all age groups need to be well educated by a subject matter expert. The sensitivity of the topic at the workplace makes it all the more important for HR teams and organizations to proactively create an open and continuous dialogue around it. In this process, sometimes those who aren’t even aware that they may have a mental illness, can finally put a name to what they feel, and seek help before circumstances lead downhill.
For any organization, not knowing your employee is hurting you in many ways. If employees’ holistic well-being is ignored, it could cause further damage to the company. WHO has estimated economic losses worth $1.03 trillion in India due to mental health conditions, between 2012 and 2030. It’s the 21st century and one must go beyond the stigma, to create a safe environment for all to freely express themselves.
Are You Doing Enough?
Burnout, depression, anxiety, stress, panic attacks – the list goes on! These are common workplace related mental health disorders. The symptoms exhibited can easily be mistaken for temporary physical ailments and hence, brushed aside. And because these signs are often overlooked, it’s even more important to make mental health a continuous, daily conversation. In such cases, most organizations resort to implementing initiatives around yoga and Zumba that focus on one’s physical well-being. But yoga doesn’t solve a cry for help.
This silent epidemic that’s plaguing corporate India deserves a serious action plan that addresses the issue at hand. The next step after sensitizing the workforce, is to make resources available to them. In-house counsellors or partnered counsellors need to be made be accessible for employees to reach out to and talk about their struggles. Ensure EAPs that are being implemented are inclusive of employee mental health and takes cognizance of one’s emotional distress as well. Stress and burnout are disorders that need to be properly treated in order to prevent further deterioration of one’s mental health.
Will Anything Change?
As it brought about a period of uncertainty for the masses, throwing normalcy out of balance, the COVID-19 pandemic ironically threw the spotlight on mental health. It created a gap in the workplace that needed organizations to fill, by heavily investing in this cause.
With Millennials, GenY and GenZ increasingly “woke” about this concern, and with famous personalities using their influence to create a platform for this movement, chances of improving the mental health scenario in India are good.
An organization can only do so much at a workplace level; it is up to each individual to carry forward this conversation and break any societal prejudices that are irrelevant and old-fashioned.