Express News Service
According to the World Health Organisation, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders. Furthermore, a survey conducted by Gi Group — a Noida-based human capital solutions and services provider — has revealed that 78 per cent employers believe workplaces influence mental health and 21 per cent think that workplaces have the potential to cause mental health issues.
But employers and employees contradict each other on two main influencing factors. While 77 per cent of the employers believe that long, erratic work hours are the top factors that undermine the role of leadership, 79 per cent employees believe that leadership plays the topmost role in influencing their mental health. The survey titled All in the Mind: The State of Mental Health in Corporate India had a sample size of 1,088 employees and 368 employers from small, medium and large-scale companies based out of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Pune.
Other findings state that despite having the best doctors and medical institutions, Delhi-NCR records low awareness about mental health issues at 59 per cent. Both employees (63 per cent) and employers (53 per cent) have low awareness of workplace stressors that adversely impact the mental wellness of the workforce.
Marcos Segador Arrebola, Managing Director, Gi Group India, says, “The reason Delhi lags in awareness about mental health issues is because mental well-being is still a nascent concept here. Plus, there’s a lot of stigma around it. They are very hesitant in talking about mental health. The correlation of workplace and aggravated episodes of anxiety was recently identified and added to the list of aggregators of mental illness.”The report, says Arrebola, also states that Delhi lacks accountability at a larger scale.
“Fourteen per cent of Delhi-NCR employers related anxiety to career growth, and at the same time 15 per cent of the employers are of the opinion that mental health of employees has no significant impact on the organisation’s performance and growth. As a global HR player, it is imperative we start a dialogue about mental health between businesses and organisations, and provide answers to whether workplaces cause/aggravate mental health issues, and how willing are employers to be a part of the solution?” Another finding was that the gap between awareness and action is substantially wide.
Ninety-four per cent employers are aware of mental health issues and 15 per cent are sensitive to mental health concerns. Highlighting the problem area, Arrebola says, “Almost every employer recognises the issue, and 70 per cent believe it is damaging the business. But despite that, only nine per cent of the employers in our survey said they take action to fix it.
In other words: We have a problem that is damaging the health of our teams and the bottom line of our financial results, but very few employers are taking action. I feel this is a great opportunity for CEOs and managers to be bold and find ways to improve this situation.” WHO has estimated economic losses due to mental health conditions in India from 2012-30 would be USD 1.03 trillion.
“The added uncertainty due to Covid-19 coupled with pink slips impacted mental health. Interestingly, 48 per cent of the employers recognised the impact of Covid-19 on mental wellness, but only 29 per cent took significant steps to better the situation,” informs Arrebola, adding that despite having a recent policy and legislative attention, India spent less than 1 per cent of its total healthcare budget on mental health in 2017.
Arrebola believes the trick to creating a good company does not only mean relying on consumers’ needs, but ensuring that employees are well taken care of. “Be aware that companies are moving from informal ways of addressing mental health issues to more formal ones including employee assistance programmes, therapy and counselling, supported by privacy-assured access to experts,” he adds.
While video conferencing has made WFH a feasible option, Zoom exhaustion is causing poor efficiency. Against this backdrop, there is a need to instil more faith in your team, feels Arrebola. “Bring staff more assignments and then asking for their feedback on business topics or suggestions. It will give the team that confidence to do better,” he shares.
In a nutshell
77% employers believe long, erratic, always on work hours are the top factors that undermine the role
79% employees believe that leadership plays the top role among all the factors that influence mental health
29% employees surveyed suffered due to erratic work schedules
21% employees suffered due to reduced salaries
81% employees reach out to parents/spouse when in mental distress