Do you remember the last suicide news you read about?
Was it a farmer? A weaver?
The mindset is that these kinds of problems only plague these kinds of sectors where financial crisis usually pushes them over the edge.
But what about the elephant in the conference room?
The forgotten woes of entrepreneurs, founders, and business leaders. We equate their positions of power with success, wealth, and all kinds of goodness – including a state of healthy physical and mental well-being.
But it took the suicide of V G Siddhartha, owner, and promoter of Cafe Coffee Day to shine the light on the mental health of managers and entrepreneurs of corporate India. Suddenly, the nation was abuzz with the trials and tribulations of business leaders and the pressures they go through. The one ubiquitous unanswered question that was left hanging was: why didn’t he seek help?
A 2016 study involving over 6,000 employees in multiple cities [in India], found that 80% of the respondents exhibited symptoms of anxiety while 55% had symptoms of depression.
Though the challenges of a business leader are different from that of an employee, there is a similar silence that shrouds the anxieties and pressures of the working class – and they too shy away from speaking up about it.
The World Health Organization estimates that depression and anxiety — among the more prominent mental health issues — cost the global economy $1 trillion a year in lost productivity.
One of the biggest things an organization can do is to address it and reduce the social stigma around mental health.
Doing so might only boost not just your employees’ mental well-being but also your business as WHO points out that for every $1 invested in treating common mental disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.
So, how can you do it?
Work is where we spend most of our active time and it is usually the cause of mental stress. But with a change in perspective, mental health policies, and leadership initiatives, it can also be the solution.