A toxic work environment and extreme workload can adversely affect employees’ mental health, a recent report has revealed. Nowadays, mental illnesses like anxiety or depression can be pre-existing conditions for many employees. Several people deal with psychological issues in their daily lives due to situational, lifestyle, and biological reasons. They carry over their mental health issues into their workplaces that eventually have a negative impact on their productivity and performance.
Recently, a few startup founders shared their personal experiences through Facebook live. Many corporate employees also joined that live session and discussed the psychological problems they are experiencing while working. Mr. Suhail Patnayak, a 33-year-old HR director, shared that he consulted a psychologist and went for a few therapy sessions in the initial few months following the lockdown. He said, “I found myself feeling very anxious now and then. I think that the overexposure to COVID-19 news and the uncertainty of the situation triggered my mental health. I am a fairly social person. Within a month of lockdown, I started having anxiety issues. I didn’t want to meet my colleagues or friends. I was not suffering from depression, but I kept fearing the worst.” He added that he found it difficult to focus on his work, and his mental condition affected his productivity. He used to stay up late and felt tired throughout the day.
“One of my friends advised me to consult with a psychologist after knowing my condition. Fortunately, I started feeling better after a few therapy sessions. I wanted to share my experience with others in my workplace. It will be great if every company updates their office mental health policy and sponsors a session where employees can get one-on-one counseling and therapy,” added Mr. Patnayak. According to him, therapy is very helpful as it gives people clarity. He advised every employee struggling with mental health to consult with a psychologist and seek medical help without any hesitation.
While sharing her experience, Ms. Debarati Panda, a 29-year-old design head, said, “I was depressed since the time I heard about the lockdown announcement. I live far from my family. There was no option to visit my parents and take care of them. I could only contact them through phone calls. My company shifted to the remote working mode last year. Most of the time, I was at home caged within the four walls. It was frustrating for me.” Debarati further said that she started losing her interest in work. She used to spend most of her time in bed, lying, scrolling social media, or doing nothing. In December 2020, she suffered from two panic attacks. When her condition started to deteriorate day by day, one of her colleagues advised her to go for therapy. “I want more people to go for therapy as it has benefited me. I feel more happy, relaxed, and confident,” said Debarati.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, it has changed the way people used to live their lives. It has changed the discourse and attitude about mental health in India. Regardless of the different age groups, gender, and profession, every person has experienced a psychological problem during this pandemic. Renowned psychologist Mrs. Usha Mitra said, “There are still numerous stigmas among people about going to a mental health specialist. But nothing will be more beneficial than consulting a psychologist and seeking medical help when needed.”
*(Names and places changed due to privacy concerns)