The COVID-19 pandemic has not only left a lasting impact on our physical health but has also unveiled a silent crisis—the pandemic of mental health. In India, the focus on bottom-line results has often overshadowed the importance of mental well-being in the workplace. Recent reports, like the Deloitte Mental Health Survey of September 2022, show that the economic burden of poor mental health costs Indian employers approximately $14 billion annually. This substantial financial toll highlights the profound consequences of neglecting mental well-being in the workplace. Furthermore, the survey discovered that 80% of the Indian workforce attributes workplace-related stress as the primary factor affecting their mental health. These findings emphasise the urgent need to address mental well-being in organisations and acknowledge the significant costs incurred by employers due to poor workforce mental health.
Rethinking workplace Culture
To truly prioritise mental health, organisations must first address the "elephant in the room" and set policies, processes, and programmes to encourage their employees to speak more openly about their challenges. Transparent communication plays a crucial role in the success of these policies. By engaging in open dialogue, providing regular updates, and conducting town hall meetings, leaders can create an environment that fosters understanding and support. Transforming workplace culture involves shifting the mind-set to embrace mental health as a vital aspect of overall well being.
Embracing personalised health
To forge a new path in prioritising mental health, it is essential to embrace a personalised approach and ensure that every employee has the tools and resources to overcome these challenges. This approach allows organisations to develop targeted interventions and provide appropriate support to each individual, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and supportive work environment. By offering resources like mental health assessments, EAPs, counseling, workshops, and flexible work arrangements, organisations empower individuals to manage their mental health proactively. These tailored interventions promote a healthier and happier workforce, fostering resilience and empowerment.
In Indian workplaces, several initiatives exist from corporate India, insurance companies, and other organisations, but there is still more to accomplish. We can achieve this by changing the conversation, reducing the stigma, and offering programmes that make a real difference for our colleagues and, consequently, our organisations as well.