Staying Aware: The Challenges and Importance of Mental Wellness

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Stigma and apathy towards mental health are the results of a lack of awareness and proper education on the topic. The World Health Organization's (WHO) first Director-General, Dr. Brock Chisholm, once said, “Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” Today, over 6 decades later, his words seem almost prophetic.

According to findings published in the Industrial Psychiatry Journal, neurological and psychiatric conditions are responsible for nearly 14% of the global burden of diseases. This correlation cannot be understated, as mental health and well-being are at the forefront of a healthy global population.

The growing importance of psychological well-being has often been neglected due to a lack of early research on the correlation between psychological disorders and other health disorders. In many cases, this aspect of health and wellness had been disregarded for too long, especially in India.

The challenges faced in mental health awareness

Mental wellness services have seen a developmental delay in many developing countries. The reasons for this delay include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Prioritization of physical health issues - Developing countries often need to focus on issues of general public health and sustainable well-being plans. This leaves little room to focus on mental health issues, which aren't seen as an urgent problem in such cases.
  • Lack of proper financial support for support centres - Due to the private nature of mental well-being and a lack of societal understanding of these issues, support centres are often under-funded and unable to offer the services that are needed.
  • Lack of professionals trained in psychological healthcare - Due to the above factors, many healthcare practitioners aren't trained in mental health and wellness. This leads to support centres being understaffed as well.

The way forward for mental health awareness in organizations

Organizations across the world suffer serious losses of their effective workforce due to psychological issues and ill-health every year. This shows a need for refocusing the health priorities of companies along the following lines:

  • Responsibility - It is considered a company's responsibility to monitor the well-being of their employees, especially in the post-COVID workplace.
  • Productivity - Maintaining good employee health, both physical and mental, helps improve productivity as well.
  • Information - It is now more important than ever to focus on and engage with mental health awareness among organizations and corporate professionals.
  • Workplace wellness - Mental health coaches, therapists, and specialists should be part of the modern workplace, who monitor and help resolve mental health issues that employees may face daily.

In closing

The stigma of mental health issues dissuades many people from seeking the help they need, often creating a vicious cycle. While the situation is slowly improving today, with more people openly seeking help and discussing mental health issues, it is still far from being a well-understood topic. While this post elucidates the challenges of mental health awareness and the need for better practices on a large scale, every HR manager and organization must review the needs of their teams and workforce independently.

Just like no two people have the exact same needs, no two organizations will need the same kind of wellness plans. It is important to have a corporate health plan that focuses on the unique needs of the organization and provides health and wellness services that help the organization perform better in the long run.

Click here to know more about managing mental health and wellness at home.


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