Why employees’ mental health should be a priority for all organisations

A medical professional provides insights on how employers can create a more supportive and inclusive work environment to address mental health needs.
By: | October 12, 2023

Prioritising mental health in the workplace has now become both a moral imperative and a strategic necessity for organisations to thrive, and organisations can see improved productivity, reduced costs, and a more positive corporate image by investing in the mental wellbeing of employees. 

“Workplace stress can significantly contribute to the increasing prevalence of mental stress, including conditions like anxiety and depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” said Dr Reema Gupta, Consultant, Clinical Psychology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

In an interview with Zee News India to commemorate World Mental Health Day, Dr Gupta explained how factors like excessive workloads, harassment, hostile work environments and poor work-life balance in the work environment can lead to emotional strain in employees. This in turn may cause employees to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, which can exacerbate mental health issues.

Employers thus play an important role in creating a supportive and inclusive environment to address the mental health needs of their employees, with motions such as creating clear mental health policies to provide employees with resources like counselling services and employee assistance programmes. All employees should then be trained and educated to use these resources confidentially, said Dr Gupta, adding that employers could offer flexible work options like remote work, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks.

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“Offering flexible work arrangements, like remote work and flexible hours, contributes to better employee mental health by reducing stress and enhancing work-life balance,” she said. “Employees can better manage personal and professional responsibilities, leading to decreased commute-related stress, increased control over their schedules, and improved overall wellbeing.”