According to a study conducted by The Live Love Laugh Foundation, a staggering 47% of Indians are judgmental of those perceived as mentally ill. Is there a role, then, that organizations can play, in supporting employees who demonstrate symptoms of having a mental problem?
With competition levels within workplaces skyrocketing, a heavy imbalance in the work-life ratio has also contributed to the new age thought that the more the number of work hours punched in by an employee, the more valuable they are to the system. Which will lead to quick success, right?
OR, it could leave them with a feeling of being overstretched, overworked & underappreciated & without any personal life whatsoever. What organization could do is support them in any way that they can – within professional limitations, of course.
Here are a few suggestions:
Create a safe and inclusive space: The first thing to do is to create awareness around issues such as anxiety or depression. You can put up posters around the subject and create a cell that employees can reach out to when overwhelmed with work-related stress or otherwise.
Test the pressure: Deploy a quick survey amongst your employees to check their stress levels.
Check your work-life balance: Of course, there are times when you need to put in a few extra hours at work. But are there any employees who have consistently been over-worked? If yes, you need to dig a little deeper.
Buddy programmes: Over-stressed employees need to be paired with ‘buddies’ who will pay heed to their work-related issues. These ‘buddies’ can be anyone who displays great empathy.
Open forums/ support groups: Hour-long support group sessions can be arranged for those who feel excessively anxious or stressed as a way to release their pressure or talk their feelings out. This can either be a space where employees can openly voice what they feel or it can be exercise-related activity such as Zumba or meditation that alleviates their stress.
Employ tactical methods: It can be something as simple as ensuring that mental health is included in the health insurance benefits given out by your company.
Remember – just because someone is not asking for help, does not mean that they don’t need it.
By Nitisha Jauhar
Nitisha Jauhar is a PR professional who invests her free time in writing and blogs. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org