Depression is reported to be one of the significant health problems facing the employees of India Inc, says a report of Assocham. Demanding schedules, high stress levels and performance-linked perquisites are taking a toll on the health of corporate India’s employees, says the study.
Nearly 42.5 per cent of employees in private sectors are afflicted from depression or general anxiety disorder, compared to government employees with lesser levels of psychological demand at work, states the study.
Nearly 38.5 percent of corporate employees sleep less than 6 hours in a day, due to high stressed levels that arise out of tough targets set by employers. Also, around 57 percent of the employees in private firms do not exercise at all, though government employee said that they ‘do exercise’ and physical workout to stay fit, says Assocham, which polled 1,250 employees from 150 companies across IT and other sectors.
The rate of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression has increased by 45-50 per cent among corporate employees in the last 8 years. “Corporate employees have to survive the stiff global competitive environment to save their jobs, adding pressure on their health,” says D.S. Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham, who adds that other major diseases like obesity, followed by high blood pressure and diabetes are also ailing the workplace.
Workplace depression is not only prevalent in India, but it is also a key global phenomenon. For every dollar spent on treating depression, almost five dollars is spent on the treatment and workplace costs of related medical conditions like back and chest pain, sleep disorders and migraines – placing a greater financial burden on businesses and the health care system, according to another new research measuring the economic impact of depression.
“The fact that they’re finding such greater costs with all these different [related conditions] underscores how the fragmented system is not helpful for our economy because people with mental illness are not getting the rounded health care they need,” said Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director of practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association states in a medical journal.
Other studies suggest high level of depression can even lead to something as severe as suicide at the workplace. A new research data notes that suicide is responsible for nearly 1 million deaths worldwide each year, and the rate is continuing to rise — particularly in the workplace.
The new research adds to the case for more preventative mental health measures in the workplace. Mental illness accounts for $44 billion in lost wages in the United States each year, yet many employees may not report their illness or seek treatment due to stigma or the fear of losing their jobs. “In order to make a change, employers need a better understanding that mental health is no longer just a personal problem,” writes lead study author Hope Tiesman, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Even small thimgs like taking a lunchtime walk can markedly improve your mood while on the job. As a Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science states that Walking has both energizing and relaxing properties in the workplace and suggests that businesses and managers should encourage lunchtime walking at work among their employees.
At a broader level, experts also suggest that changes in health coverage may alter this landscape. For example, more people gaining health care coverage through the Ministry of Health and other efforts to integrate mental and medical care could provide more care for people with depression and lessen the workplace burden.
(This article was first published in www.cxotoday.com)