The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Article 27 recognizes that every person with a disability (including a psychosocial disability) has the right to work.
By Pooja Priyamvada
The Japanese now have a term for work-related mental illnesses – shin-gata utsu. Mental health is a huge grey space in public consciousness that neither do young people mention it in their interviews nor do most companies show any sensitivity towards survivors if it comes up. Hence, often at the very onset of several illustrious corporate careers, mental illness is brushed under the carpet conveniently.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Article 27 recognizes that every person with a disability (including a psychosocial disability) has the right to work. All such people must reveal the nature and extent of their disability at the time of employment or whenever they get diagnosed if after employment and should be treated with equality and no discrimination. They should also be offered all possible support in the workplace.
Young people often are a large percentage of those who struggle with some kind of mental health issue and are often given the suggestion to consider work as therapy and immerse themselves in work to get “distracted” and productively engaged.
Working does give a purpose and sense of self-worth but need not be always a one-stop solution to a mental illness even as common as anxiety. Juniors or interns often encounter huge workloads, antagonistic colleagues and/or seniors and largely a negative working environment that often adds to or initiates mental health problems.
In 2015 an ASSOCHAM study revealed that 42.5 per cent of all employees working in the private sector suffer from some kind of a mental health issue. Risks to mental health stem from nature of jobs, huge workloads, lack of team support and/or social support.
Often a lot of new workers also have new relationships, new parenting responsibilities that might add to these issues. Mental health issues often make many succumb to substance abuse and absenteeism. The commonest conditions depression and/or anxiety lead to an estimated 1 trillion US dollar loss per year in productivity.
Those work environments that are positive and conducive to good mental health find an almost automatic increase in employee satisfaction, productivity and other benefits from associated economic profits.
(The author is a translator, social media expert and awarded blogger. The views expressed are personal.)