HR Tech Startup uKnowva conducts survey on ‘How open are Managers to discuss Mental Health at workplace’
Of late, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has received renewed focus in the workplace. Supporting mental health in the workplace is no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity. Even in the most uncertain of times, the role of a manager remains the same: to support the team members. That includes supporting their mental health. A survey conducted by uKnowva on whether employees can discuss mental health with their managers showed that 65% believe their managers are supportive, while 24% believe that their manager is not supportive and 12% believe they would listen but not support.
Though the results of the survey are encouraging, a lot still needs to be done in India to support the mental health of employees. As per the World Health Organisation, more than half the world’s population are currently at work and 15% of working-age adults live with a mental disorder. Without proper support, mental health conditions can affect a person’s identity and confidence at work, capacity to work productively, absences and the ease with which to retain or gain work. It is estimated that 12 billion working days are lost every year to depression and anxiety alone. Additionally, discussing mental health in professional settings still continues to be a stigma. The problem is that when managers deliberately avoid addressing mental health at work, that stigma grows.
Though talking about mental health issues can feel tricky and terrifying at the same time, it becomes a vicious cycle — the less people talk about it at work, the more the stigma grows. To break this cycle, managers need to address the issue proactively, thoughtfully and strategically.
“Managers have a responsibility towards their employees to develop an open, inclusive, and safe environment that allows them to bring their whole selves to work. Leaders at every level need to put mental health “on the table” — to discuss it, invite other employees to talk about it and work actively to develop resources and plans for their employees. This is a good way to reduce mental health stigma while increasing the likelihood that the colleagues feel happier, more confident and productive. It is also crucial to regularly connect with the team members on a personal level, weekly or fortnightly, for a few minutes keeping aside work-related tasks and focusing solely on getting to know each team member. This is a proactive way of ensuring the well-being of the employees as connections are a fundamental human need and have been linked to lower levels of anxiety, depression and higher rates of self-esteem. After all, helping others in need isn’t just a task, it is one of the noblest of acts. A manager’s willingness to open up an honest conversation about mental health with employees is exactly the kind of gift that so many people want and need right now ” said Vicky Jain, Founder and CEO of uKnowva, HR Tech Startup.