Mental health is not just a human resources issue, here’s why

Updated: Dec 16, 2019 4:05 PM

Mental health related ailments comprise of 1/6th of all health-related disorders globally.

mental health, WHO, innovation, workplace well being, Mental health news, human resources, World Economic Forum, WHO, health newsThe diagnosable mental health conditions or widespread common stress levels are not enough to gauge the impact of lack of mental health in any economy and society. (Reuters photo)

By Pooja Priyamvada

The importance of mental health in the times to come can be predicted from the fact that mental health was one of the three main themes along with technology disruption and climate change at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018. A report by the WHO estimates that in India approximately 7.5 per cent of the population is suffering from some or the other form of mental health issue. Notably, India has nearly 15% of the substance abuse, mental, neurological and disorder burden in the world.

Mental health related ailments comprise of 1/6th of all health-related disorders globally. The treatment gap is also huge in this segment, meaning that the prevalence of these illnesses and the percentage of patients that receive treatment, is more than 70 per cent.

What is a growing concern for the leaders of the world and policy makers is the fact that most people lack self-awareness about a mental health status. This is often a defense mechanism of the mind clinically also known as “anosognosia”. Realization of the need of help and intervention is the first major hurdle to tackle the global mental health challenges.

The diagnosable mental health conditions or widespread common stress levels are not enough to gauge the impact of lack of mental health in any economy and society. Long term undiagnosed mental health conditions, chronic pain, time bound mental health challenges, and several symptoms that don’t measure up to a clinical threshold also impact individuals and organizations.

Leaders at various organizations are leading the way by coming out about their own mental health survivor stories and creating an open culture of care and empathy in their organizations. Role modelling can go a long way to de-stigmatise mental health difficulties. It has led to a ripple effect in many setups successfully.

Workplace wellbeing is now a major concern world over as it directly affects productivity and innovation. Ultimately employees and employers are also citizens and thus the creation of a sensitive, sensitized, inclusive and resilient system can empower not just workplaces but nations and economies too. Mental health is not just a Human resources issue but an intersectional dealing with diversity, inclusion and equity.

The author is an avid columnist on issues related to mental health. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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