Why is it important to consider the mental wellbeing of the employees in companies, now more than ever?

Team IIBP Anveshan, Issue 2

Since numbers excite us and give us a measurable estimate, let us talk about the current most pressing issue in numbers! Yes, let us talk about mental health in numbers! Do you know the alarming numbers revolving around mental health in India?

According to a 2019 study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in India,

1. Around 7.5% of indian population suffers due to mental illnesses and the WHO

predicts this number to rise up to 20% soon.

2. An estimated economic loss India is likely to suffer ONLY DUE TO MENTAL

HEALTH ISSUES by 2030, is USD 1.03 trillion !

3. Unfortunately, India has a shockingly scarce number of mental health

professionals in proportion with the percentage of the population suffering from mental health issue.

Furthermore, poor mental health results in employee absenteeism and declined productivity (Rajgopal, 2010), inability to concentrate, low energy levels, sticking to deadlines, rigidity to change & difficulty to receive negative feedback (www.passporthealthusa.com), which additionally cost the companies to deal with the losses incurred. Social interaction in the company also becomes a task

(www.passporthealthusa.com) One of the reasons for poor mental health is the work stress endured by employees. Besides, poor mental health is likely to be related with early retirement in men (Olesen et. al., 2012). Besides, not so surprisingly, the most common predators are depression & anxiety, which are more likely than not to escalate to committing suicides ( NIMHANS, 2015-16) .

Depression being the most fierce predator, motivation of the employees to work on a daily basis, is directly impacted. Meanwhile, the pandemic has considerably contributed

to the already threatful situation by causing mental health stress (Bao et.al., 2020).

Further, Kumar (2020) mentions that the WHO theorised the quarantine to add on to loneliness, anxiety, depression, increased alcoholism & drug use, insomnia, & self harm & suicidal behaviour, which are all the attributes of poor mental health. Hence, spreading awareness around mental health and taking the necessary steps to consider the mental wellbeing of the employees, is the need of the hour in companies, since it directly affects the company’s profits. Steps recommended for the companies to take: It is strongly recommended that workplace mental health care be looked at as an investment rather than an expense to the company.

The company could make certain provisions for the employees enduring mental health issues. For instance:

1. Having awareness campaigns, webinars, and workshops in companies on a

monthly or bimonthly basis to reduce the stigma and spread knowledge about

mental health

2. Making policies providing support to the employees with mental health issues

3. Investing in providing mental health insurances to their employees

4. Companies could have an in-house Business Psychologist and a counselor to look after the overall wellbeing of the employees or hire consultants for the same

5. Having tie-ups with hospitals for employees to access mental health services

Following these simple steps could not only create a significant positive difference in the

workplace mental health, but also contribute to uplift profits made by the company.

About the Author: Ms. Swarali Sonar is a Business Psychologist . She believes in & strives for the well-being of others. The combination of her emotional intelligence along with her educational background, is her asset. She has had experience worth almost 2 years in an assessment day, school, and college combined, where she learned a lot of professionalism. Her experience gave her opportunities to apply her academic knowledge in practice.