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The Current Scenario of India Inc's state of mental health

Authored by Sonal Arora Executive Director & Business Staffing Head , Gi Group India 

The unexpected health crisis in India has disrupted the essential functionality of the nation. Millions of Indians are getting infected with the COVID-19 virus, while creating a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty among the rest. The fatality of the virus coupled with business losses, erratic work hours, job instability and staying indoors proved to be mentally taxing for the Indian population.

Unfortunately, conversations about mental health are still frowned upon in India. Since people are less comfortable discussing these issues, it has resulted in a clear lack of awareness leading to an absence of an ever more defined action plan. As per a report published by the WHO in 2019, over 13 crores of the Indian population suffers from mental distress. This number constitutes 15% of the global mental health and substance abuse disorder patients. Owing to the unprecedented times caused by waves of COVID-19, the relentless stress of sustaining optimum work-life balance and the fear of job cuts has increased the figure by a multi-fold.

To identify the stresses and the condition of mental health in India, GI Group recently launched an exhaustive report defining the state of India Inc’s mental health - All in the Mind: The State of Mental Health in Corporate India. The report identifies and addresses various factors at the workplaces affecting the employees’ mental well-being. According to the survey, 94% of the employers are aware of mental health issues in the work environment and 70% of the employers consider mental health has a significant impact on organizational performance, despite this, only 9% of the employers in the survey actively work on mental wellness. The published report helps give a bird's eye view of how sectors like FMCG, IT/ITeS amongst others are doing on the index of mental wellness in India.

Though the idea of working from home sounds lucrative as employees will have more time to spend with their families, the data still suggests otherwise. And this is not only the case of India. In a recent report by McKinsey on the “Future of remote working", the productivity of the employees increased during the lockdown, but it also created a sense of anxiety and a constant feeling of complete exhaustion as they felt like they are not achieving enough. The McKinsey report also highlighted that the employees expect their employers to formulate effective employee-friendly strategies to nurture the neo-hybrid working model. There is a lack of such policies and proper mechanism in place which has resulted in the discernment of vagueness amongst the operators.

While the corporates are trying to identify and work on reducing mental stressors, policies from the central government will act as a catalyst in creating awareness resulting in immediate action plans. The crisis can only be dealt with if the Government and the organisations will be admissible to accept and pro-actively participate in the activities towards nurturing healthy mental wellness.

The second wave of the epidemic affected millions of individuals by hurting the country's economic and mental health. It is time to address mental well being as one of the important concerns with the other concerns posed by COVID-19. To bring a change in the state of the individual suffering from mental disturbance, India needs an effective public policy, public awareness drives and professional guidance towards mental wellbeing. In lieu of many organisations, the Government of India should regard mental health to be as essential as physical health.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. 


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