One Flew Over The HR's cabin

Outlook|July 27, 2020

One Flew Over The HR's cabin
Organisations have begun addressing employees’ mental health, but much more needs to be done
Lachmi Deb Roy

When it comes to employee wellbeing, companies hype their compensation packages, flexible working hours and snack bars. Few, however, talk about mental health, let alone make it a priority. According to a Lancet paper, one in seven Indians suffered from a men­tal illness in 2017. With the pandemic causing a surge in anxiety, depression, sleep disorders etc, it is more im­portant than ever to address these concerns.

At the workplace, mental illness remains a largely taboo subject. A 2016 study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India revealed that nearly 42.5 per cent of employees in the country’s private sector organisations suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder. even though many individuals with mental health issues are part of the workforce, they rarely divulge these at the workplace, fearing prejudice and stigma. According to a 2019 study by Businessolver, an Iowa­ based employee­benefits administration services company, 68 per cent of employees worry that reaching out about their mental health issues could negatively impact job security. Although 50 per cent of all employees (and 60 per cent of millennial em­ployees) reported having had a mental health problem, only one­third of them reached out to their employers. Organisations do not actively seek this information from employees. “Most pre­joining medical tests that organisations mandate consist of tests on physical health parameters,” says Nimisha Dua of Conagra Foods.

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July 27, 2020