Employee Mental Health

Approximately 156 million Indians need mental health interventions. If your employees are one of them, here is how to help them so you can ensure they have high productivity and bring some sunshine into your work culture

May has been declared as mental health awareness month by World Health Organisation (WHO). During and after the pandemic, mental health has become one of the burning topics that need to be addressed and brought into the mainstream. So how does this affect you or your organisation? Admitting, recognising the signs and seeking timely help will ensure that your mental health does not affect your physical health. Do remember, in almost all the studies, poor mental health has been associated with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, a trigger for lifestyle diseases including cancer. But first, you need to recognise the signs. If you or someone you know is exhibiting the signs, they need immediate help.

1. Poor sleep quality or insomnia.

2. Aggressive behaviour becomes more aggressive.

3. Overeating or not feeling hungry

4. Overindulgence in smoking, alcohol or other substance abuse

5. Significant tiredness.

6. Severe mood swings – either being happy or short-tempered

7. Poor sex drive.

8. Getting stressed over daily problems which are otherwise routine chores.

9. Withdrawal from social interaction.

10. Consistent pessimism.

If you experience any of the above or know someone who has even five of the symptoms, it's time to help them. Here's how you can help them get help:

1. Become woke. First speak to a counsellor and do your own research in order to understand what your colleague, loved one, friend may be going through. In case the person is an employee, get the assistance of a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. Very often, organisations have an employee assistance program in place and feel that employees will call the number anonymously but research has shown that more than 80% of employees will not reach out to call.

2. Address the topic (if you are close to the person). Approach the person calmly, use empathy and start by sharing your own experience. Very often, we feel comfortable and not threatened when somebody talks about their own struggles. Addressing the topic head-on can make a person already going through so much feel humiliated, threatened, being judged and isolated, which can further push them into a corner.

3. Take their feelings seriously. What someone with mental health issues is going through is not something that you can judge or gauge. You can only be empathetic, supportive and help them by taking their struggles seriously.

4. If you don't know what to do, seek help. If you see someone struggling and don't want to approach or empathise with them, reach out to a qualified psychologist or their loved ones so that they can get help.

Mental and physical illness are interconnected, having poor mental health can trigger serious and chronic lifestyle diseases. Seek professional help on time to ensure you remain physically and emotionally healthy. Remember: each of your employees is an ambassador of your organisation. As part of employee welfare, it is the duty of an organisation to look after the mental well-being of employees. Consistent initiatives like monthly workshops will normalise conversations around mental health, and that is the first step towards making your employees comfortable in reaching out to you in case there is a problem. Don’t do a one-off on a particular Health Day, always send out the message that you care about your employees. Unmute and talk about mental health issues frequently.

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Mental Health Employee mental health


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