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Poor employee mental health goes heavy for Indian companies; costs Indian companies 1.1 lakh crore INR

Over the years, mental health issues have seen a significant rise in the world, which has been accentuated due to the covid-19 pandemic. According to research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), India comprises about 15 percent of the global mental health load.

Poor psychological health is not only restricted to individuals but also affects the workforce. Poor mental health among the employees costs around 1.1 lakh crore to Indian employers.

The loss has been due to frequent absenteeism and attrition, as revealed by a recent survey by Deloitte. The expenses can further be divided into three factors which include the cost of absenteeism, the cost of presenteeism, and employee turnover.

Absenteeism refers to the sudden or planned leaves taken due to mental health causes while presenteeism takes place due to appearing at work while suffering from mental stress. This, in turn, affects the productivity of the company.

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The reports have further mentioned that the costs get accumulated over time and are incurred when poor mental health affects how the individual deals with everyday stressors and are not able to evolve further in the work environment.

A survey was conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu among 3995 employees to examine the state of mental well-being among Indian employees.

Around 47 percent of professionals surveyed showed that work-related stress is a crucial symptom of psychological health problems. This was backed by financial burden and covid-19 challenges. The Survey also shows that 80 percent of the individuals have reported mental health issues during the previous year. The percentage of employees suffering from mental health issues has been recorded as the highest in the IT or ITES sector and the least in the education sector.

Despite the highest number of employees suffering from mental health problems, society prevents 39 percent of the affected individuals to take steps in managing the problem.
In addition, the survey reported that 33 percent of the respondents continued to work despite being diagnosed with poor health problems, while 29 percent took leaves and others resigned to cope with their mental health problems.

Charu Sehgal, a partner in the DTTILP talked about mental health problems in recent times. The crisis existed before but came to light after the covid-19 pandemic when mental health was valued greatly.
She has stated that the number of impacted individuals is largely supplemented by the high degree of challenges in performance-oriented cultures. Modern-day work culture demands long work schedules, economic uncertainty, and peer comparison.

Initially, employees have struggled to address such troubles as most of them feel uncomfortable speaking regarding such matters with their employers in the fear of penalty.
The social health taboos associated with psychiatry help accelerate the problem of increasing mental illnesses in the country.

How can mental health be improved by the organizations?

Many Indian corporates have realized the importance of the employee’s well-being. However, little has been done to address the mental health issues of the individuals.

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The corporates are regularly experiencing generational shifts, and the employers have achieved the opportunity to hit reset and re-evaluate the ways of identifying and working on the root causes and adopting measures to ensure the well-being of the individuals through multiple policies.

Senior managers need to stop destigmatizing mental health challenges in the industry. They should emphasize creating an environment where the employees can survive well and thrive.

Poor psychological health is a burden on the global economy. The World Health Organization has stated that the world experiences a loss of about 1 trillion USD in productivity due to a lack of emphasis on mental health.

Recently, a post received attention from the public because of the wrong reasons. Bombay Shaving Company’s CEO Shantanu Deshpande mentioned in his posts saying that the new workforce should work for 18 hours a day without random ‘Rona dhona’, and it was not received well by the people.

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This struck a debate among the people questioning the worth of mental health.
To work efficiently surrounded by stressors, the organization must implement secured strategies that address the root cause of the employee’s mental well-being and ask about their state of mind in the frame of time.

Mental health is equally crucial for the productivity of an organization. It is high time for people to act on it.

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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