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% Indians suffering from these concerns, shouldn’t mental health awareness deserve more than just one day?
Going Beyond The Stigma!
With heavy societal pressure on those suffering from any mental health disorder, one needs to double the efforts to break such 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 even more important for HR teams to proactively create an engaging dialogue around it. These open conversations are far more beneficial than one can imagine. It helps those who aren’t aware that they may have a mental illness to put a name to what they feel, and seek help.
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. Between 2012 and 2030, WHO has estimated economic losses worth $1.03 trillion in India due to mental health conditions. It’s the 21st century and one must go beyond the stigma. One must 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. Because these signs are often overlooked, it’s even more important to make mental health a continuous, daily conversation. In such cases, organizations tend to implement yoga and Zumba activities that focus on 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. Making resources available is the next next step after sensitizing the workforce. Counsellors and psychologists need to be made accessible to employees to reach out to and share their struggles. EAPs that are being implemented must take cognizance of one’s emotional distress and mental health. Stress and burnout are disorders that need to be treated to prevent further deterioration of one’s mental health.
Will Anything Change?
As it brought about a period of uncertainty, throwing normalcy out of balance, COVID-19 ironically put the spotlight on mental health. It created a gap in the workplace that needed organizations to fill, by heavily investing in this cause.
The silver lining is that chances of improving the mental health scenario in India are good. How? Younger generations are increasingly “woke” about this concern, and famous personalities are creating a platform for this movement. Their actions have a positive outcome as they join forces and fearlessly be themselves.
An organization can only do so much at a workplace level. It is up to each individual to carry forward this conversation and break prejudices that are irrelevant and old-fashioned.