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Webinar: How wellness programs can aid mental well-being

With the growing prevalence of mental and stress-related disorders in the general population, the importance of health and well-being programs is being recognized more and more in the corporate world. Employers are also seeing its benefit both in attracting new talent and retaining existing employees.

In this webinar by ekincare and Xoxoday, moderated by Thrilok Abhishek - AVP, ekincare, our speakers Svati Patangay - Chief Wellness Officer, Zenoti, Romika Gahlaut - Director - Total Rewards Expedia Group and Taruna Lohmror - Chief People Officer Xoxoday covered the aspects of how companies can address mental wellness at the workplace through clearly articulated workplace employee wellness programs.

Mental health and well-being at the workplace

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is presenting new and unique challenges every single day. Organizations are navigating uncharted waters with this virus, making it important to find new ways to work while also taking care of employees' mental health and well-being.

Many employees are teleworking full-time for the first time, isolated from co-workers, friends and family. The daily living routines are disrupted causing added anxiety, stress and strain—physically, mentally, and financially. It is completely natural for this disruption and uncertainty to lead to anxiety and stress. While the pandemic has caused mental health concerns to skyrocket, businesses can be equipped with the right tools to support their employees.

Breaking the workplace taboo around mental health

Never before have so many employees been suffering from feelings of depression and anxiety. This also has knock-on effects at work. While employees are increasingly absent from work as a result of burnout and stress, a key factor in staying on top of these disorders is resilience, or the extent to which someone can cope with stress and setbacks. Employees who have high levels of resilience continue to function well in difficult circumstances and adapt successfully. But stress can pile up in those who are less resilient.

This is particularly true within a workplace where employees feel that revealing or discussing their mental health issues will have a negative impact on their job. In fact, a survey of 1,500 managers found that 67% consider there to be a stigma when it comes to stress, anxiety and other mental health issues in the workplace.

Companies need to raise awareness among managers and train them how to identify the early signs of emerging mental health issues. They should also be taught about conversation techniques to provide a listening ear and, if necessary, refer the employee to professional help. 

Engaging more in communication around mental health also helps to remove the taboo surrounding the subject, because every little bit helps.

Challenge of modern working life and COVID-19 to mental well-being

Workplace is a predominant domain in an individual’s working life and an ever-changing panorama to which employees must adapt. In daily life and especially at work, terms like anxiety or depression are not commonly used to describe an employee’s personal feelings or state of mental health, but often used when the demands of the working environment exceed their ability to cope with. 

Isolation, contact restrictions and economic shutdown imposed a complete change to the psychosocial environment. The current situation affected children, adolescents and their families in an exceptional way. Parents were asked to support their children with home schooling, while at the same time working from home. External support by other family members and social support systems had also fallen away. Beside worries and anxieties related to COVID-19, the economic situation has worsened with high and rising levels of unemployment in all affected countries. This has put a lot of pressure on employees and their families which could result in distress and mental health problems.

How to improve the adoption of the mental well-being services

The rise of health tech has opened up new avenues for employees to get the support they need for mental health issues. The availability of live video technology, for instance, allows busy professionals to see a therapist at their convenience by offering quick booking and flexible appointment times.

These new solutions are stripping away factors previously stopping employees from getting the help they need, such as health practitioners only being available between 8am and 6pm – this means that those struggling with their mental health now have the ability to speak to someone outside of weekday office hours.

Mental health is a pressing national issue that affects people from all walks of life. Positively, progress is being made in raising awareness about mental health problems, but the current pressure on mental health services and the stigma about this topic leaves professionals looking for support face obstacles. Fortunately, the rise of health tech is providing alternative solutions to the traditional avenues for support – making it easier for those struggling at home or at work to get the help that they need.

Prachi Bharadwaj is an experienced Marketing Communications Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the health tech & higher education industries.