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Mental Health

The mental health of people around us suffered as a result of navigating the unknowns. While people fought the unfathomable obstacles for a long time, the most difficult battle was the one waged solemnly within themselves.


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Sanjeevani Singh

3 months ago | 3 min read
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"Send not to find for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee," wrote John Donne in 1624.

How ironic is it that something said in the seventeenth century still applies so well to the civilized and fast-paced world of the twenty-first century? The verses mentioned above particularly mean that - don't inquire for whom the funeral bells toll because they also toll for you.

As members of a broader social setting, when someone dies, a part of us likewise vanishes into the darkness. Fast forward to the twenty-first century; this tolling is mental health. Every toll, every bell, indicates that a person has been diagnosed with mental health issues somewhere in the world.

In India, mental health is one of the most hushed topics and has several stigmas attached to it. No matter how much we progress, and the soaring heights we attempt to reach through innovation and brand-new technology, everything comes to a standstill when mental health is bough to the limelight. In the last one and a half pandemic years, corporate work might have undergone a revamp, but it indeed carried mental health challenges and adaptability along with it. It is no secret that working from home was a dream come true for many, but how much good is too good? With all the comfort of work from home came a luxurious price attached. A price in the form of anxiety, stress, isolation, long working hours, increased screen time exposure, and lost work-life balance. The mental health of people around us suffered due to navigating the unknowns. While people fought the unfathomable obstacles for a long time, the most challenging battle was waged solemnly within themselves.

For someone who is a cinema fanatic, I believe the best way to understand the stigma associated with mental health would be by remembering the movie "Dear Zindagi" by Gauri Shinde. The film focuses on the events and daily hardships that young people face, yet they cannot analyze and express their thoughts. Due to the dread of uncertainty, issues such as depression and anxiety have become increasingly common as a result of work pressure and a fast-paced lifestyle.

As a fan of the Harry Potter series, I associate mental health with "Voldemort." Everyone refers to him as "the one who shall not be called" throughout the series, oblivious to the fact that the horror of the term merely adds to the fear of the creature itself. The first step in battling mental health is to talk about it freely and remove the stigma that has been connected to it. The quiet and hushes surrounding this particular issue must be confronted with open dialogue and communication, thereby raising awareness and transparency about the issues.

 "Brain is a part of the body that may require assistance as well."

Organizations must invest in mental health education and develop flexible work hours for employees and employers. Pandemic gave us a real possibility of remote work being the new normal. Thus, under such circumstances, employees should be free to work when they are in the state to work, thus escaping the route of overburdening and burnout. 

Companies should promote mental health education by teaching employees to seek help and emotional support when needed. Leaders must show compassion- offering 'help' and 'support' to their peers and employees. Whether CEO or interns, everyone is programmed to care. Employees who work in compassionate workplaces are more imaginative and adaptive, producing higher-quality and consistent work. To see emotions, not as problems to be solved but questions to be answered and challenges to overcome. Companies should also ensure that employees have easy access to information on their mental and physical health from a range of independent sources.

In such times of crisis, it is highly imperative that organizations collectively establish genuine norms of workplace wellness. While shiny amenities offered at the workplace might help, they certainly can't break through the stigma around mental health and the vulnerability that comes with it. Employers should know that collaborative team classes and free snacks are nice-to-haves but not must-haves. Capitalism's rhythm may be oblivious to swings in human well-being and production. But we are not as humans.

At the risk of making a stellar allusion, it is well known that when stars shine, a million atoms collide within the star, producing light bright enough to shine. With this in mind, I feel the same may be said for us. Our voice is the voice of change that is required and the only way to break shatter the glass ceiling of stigma attached to mental health.

-Sanjeevani Singh

(FORE School of Management)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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