Workplace Depression Taking a Toll on Indian Inc Employees
One out of every five employees of India Inc is suffering from workplace depression, says a new survey, and medical experts blame it on lack of support systems at both workplace and in personal circles.
As many as 22% respondents to the ‘India Employee Survey’ by HR tech startup Hush felt that their productivity is low due to overwork and stress, and more than half of the respondents said they suffered from some kind of workplace depression.
The survey covered 3,000 employees from sectors such as IT, manufacturing, financial sector and startups.
Medical professionals back the numbers. “There has been a rise in the number of patients coming from the corporate sector,” said Sameer Parikh, director, Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, at Fortis Healthcare NSE 0.04 % . “This is largely due to lack of support system at workplace and in their personal circles,” he told ET.
The awareness level among individuals is on a rise over the years, but India does not have many support groups in the country to cater to the needs of the employees, Parikh said.
At Fortis Healthcare, 40% of all patients in the working age group complain of work-related anxiety and depression. Archana Bisht, director at employee assistance programme (EAP) service provider 1to1help.net, said there has been a significant rise in cases of people with depression in recent times.
“Depression is more than just a low mood – it is a mental health disorder,” she said, adding that out of 9,622 people who took ‘depression test’ at 1to1help.net, 56% indicated signs of depression.
Reasons for depression among employees range from the blurring line between work and personal life to a constant disconnect between the job role and what was promised.
At Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), there has been a three-fold increase in number of young professionals coming with complaints of sleep disturbance, headaches, chest pain, fatigue, and burnout resulting from workplace stress over the last five years.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension, often in response to a demand or challenge. Prolonged stress leads to high levels of stress-related hormone called cortisol in the body, making one vulnerable to depression and anxiety in the long run.
“This is exceptionally harder for female professionals who deliver professional roles shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts, and additionally juggle their traditional roles of being a mother, a daughter-in-law, and taking care of their households,” said Shobhana Mittal, psychiatrist at CIMBS.
One in four employees surveyed by Hush blamed low salaries as one of the prime reasons for stress at work while 20% respondents said that politics and peer pressure were equally stressful.
“This is an invisible plague and hurts the health of an employee and the workplace at large,” said Ashutosh Dabral, cofounder of Hush.
Half the employees across banking, financial and startups have said they are struggling to balance between work and personal life, the Hush survey said.