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High job stress increases risk of mental disorders in professionals

Long working hours, the pressure to meet the hovering deadlines, and the necessity of managing both the home and the workspace are the basic requirements of any job in the current times. As a result, individuals tend to work for over 60 hours a week against the ideal 40-45 hours a week bringing a lot of stress unto them, leading to deterioration of their mental health.

As per the statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 7.5 percent Indians suffer from a mental health condition. Further, it is predicted that by the end of 2020, more than 20 percent of the Indian population, that is, 56 million Indians will suffer from depression. For such a huge burden of depression, India today has only 4000 professionals to help them.

According to experts, when professionals are required to spend more hours at their jobs, they are left with very little or no time for personal care and development. The lack thereof, can trigger the development of serious mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Consequently, it is not only the individuals themselves who bear the brunt of the stress, but also the companies and organizations in turn, as they report a loss of productivity due to higher rate of absenteeism caused by increasing mental health issues. Even if the employees are forced to attend office despite their mental illness, they are not able to concentrate or work which further translates into loss of productive man days.

Therefore, it is important to provide such professionals with mandatory benefits such as more paid vacation days and monthly mental health checkups to combat stress and depressive symptoms, thereby promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Making workplace mental health

Stress at workplace is inevitable; however, it is possible to manage the levels of stress. In general, a job becomes stressful due to poor managerial and workplace practices, excessive workloads which demand to do more with less, and interpersonal conflicts. They, individually, or in combination, become a potential trigger for development or worsen the existing mental disorder. Since the situation is more or less the same in every organization, changing jobs is not the solution.

Organizational contribution

Amidst all this, it is important for the companies to incorporate proper employee engagement programs with special attention given to mental health care of the employees. Efforts should be made to ensure equal distribution of work among the employees to avoid overburdening an individual. Further, steps like planning the workflow and deciding short-term goals rather than aiming to hit the final target, can also help in reducing the amount of stress on the professionals. Additionally, providing sufficient vacations, leaves, and timely mental health checks can encourage the individuals to work in a stress-free environment.

Meanwhile, as an individual, professionals can create a timetable to prioritize their work, structure the flow and set end-of-the-day targets to avoid over piling of work and the resultant stress.

Further, office spaces and the management should be open and welcoming to listen to employee grievances and grasp any discrepancy in mental health that the employee might be facing. Although it should not be necessary for an employee to share their mental illness with the management, however, they should be given the flexibility to take leaves or breaks to recover from the condition.

Road to recovery

Mental illnesses are complex conditions and are often misunderstood by others. Also, the existing stigmas and taboos associated with mental disorders further makes it difficult for others to get the true picture, thereby also discouraging them from taking appropriate steps to address the concern. However, treating mental disorders is as essential as curing any physical ailment.

Mental disorders can be treated with proper medical intervention that includes medication, therapies or combination of both, depending on the severity and duration of the condition as determined by the clinical assessment. Therefore, if you, or your loved one is suffering from any mental health condition, or experiencing any of the symptoms, you can seek help from Athena Behavioral Health. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 9289086193 or chat with our experts to know about the programs available at mental health treatment centers.