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Mental health issues need urgent attention for health of workplace

HR heads of leading corporations in Delhi and Gurugram reached a consensus on the significance of mental health in harnessing the productivity of the workforce and realization of a healthy corporate environment.

They called it a critical aspect of overall well-being that cannot be overlooked.

The HR professionals were participating in a panel discussion organized to address the issue of mental health at the workplace.

India accounts for nearly 15 per cent of the global mental health burden, with nearly 150 million Indians – more than 10 per cent of the population – in need of mental health services. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS), less than 20 per cent of them are seeking care.

The panel discussion deliberated on the topic: “Is Investing in Mental Health a Good Business?” During the discussion, the participants urged businesses to take steps to address mental health issues in their respective workplaces for a better business experience and corporate culture.

India is paying a significant price for leaving mental health issues undressed. Many a time, mental problems go undetected due to a lack of awareness, education, and access to medical help owing to the stigma attached to the issue.

The matter can no longer be brushed under the carpet in view of the WHO data on mental health. According to the data, India loses an estimated 1 per cent of its GDP to mental health issues.

The organizations that prioritize mental well-being of their employees not only create a supportive work environment but also benefit from increased productivity and improved business outcomes.

The participants painted a grim picture of mental health scenarios even in advanced countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom. In the US alone, more than 22 per cent of adults live with mental illness, leading to an estimated annual loss of $46.7 billion in productivity. Similarly, nearly 150 million Indians need mental health services, but only a small percentage seek care.

A panel led by leading doctors, Marsh India and Medix Global, made an appeal to India Inc to log their return on investment (ROI) in mental health.

“By sharing success stories, and implementing comprehensive mental health programmes, organizations can create a supportive environment for their employees. This includes prevention, diagnosis, goal mapping, treatment, and outcomes measurement, along with providing ample access to mental health professionals,” said Sigal Atzmon, CEO of Medix Global.

“Investing in mental health is a win-win situation for both employers and employees,” she concluded.