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Can Managers Understand Mental Health? 65% Employees say ‘NO’

How mentally safe are Indian workplaces? Do managers understand mental health of employees unless it starts hampering their work?

A recent survey by The7thFold suggests that 36% of Indian employees are suffering from mental health issues and around 50% are stressed about an uncertain future due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has been tough for everyone and the major lifestyle change it has put people in is even stressful. Where amid the pandemic, several organizations have taken into consideration, the mental well-being of their employees, the sensitivity of the issues is yet not there in the Indian work culture. While pandemic has imposed insecurities, the work culture and understanding of mental health before that was still a problem. So, the question is, can managers understand mental health of their employees? 


We did a pool to understand what employees feel about opening up about their mental health with their managers, we asked them about ‘can managers understand mental health’ and here are the results of the pools –

65% of the employees don’t think that their managers understand mental health/ health issues.

– 51% said it is not safe to tell their managers about their hard times, until and unless their hard times start to hamper the work

– 73% said that they fear that they will lose their jobs if they will open up about their mental health

So, before we even talk about why would managers react this way, some of the things that can affect an employees’ mental health can be self/family needs, physical health, work task and deadlines, self/family mental health, performance, appraisal, social distancing/isolation, relationship issues, and other insecurities.

Now, these are the issues that can affect anyone and everyone. And certainly, for a person who is employed at work, there are very high chances that their work will get affected by these changes and insecurities in their personal and professional life. For a manager who doesn’t understand it, this becomes a problem, not just for the employee, but for the organization too.

For a manager, they feel that it is important for their employee to be productive. In the race of selling out the best out of them, they often forget the process of how can an employee be productive. And for a fact, a person can’t be productive all the time, so, don’t the employees deserve to have their spell of empathy from the managers, irrespective of the fact that the work is being hampered or not. Here is a case study to make this clear.


Read more: How to Deal with Unfair Feedback at Your Workplace

mental health


Here are a few ways in which managers can support their employees

1. Modeling mentally healthy behaviour

Let your employee know that they are important, and their health is important. Tell them again and again, self care is more important than any other thing. Infact, modeling self-care is even essential for the managers, and they should imply and apply the same and give an open space to the employees to practice that too.


2. Check-in instead of waiting for them to open up

There are certain signs that you can identify in a person that can be a directive of the fact that they are not healthy. Keep a close eye on those signs and approach them directly. Ask them if there is any trouble before they reaching out to you.


3. Don’t always keep on reminding of the pending work when they aren’t well

Many employees, at the moment, when their employees are not in a healthy state of mind, provide the flexibility to get better but at the same time, ask them for a commitment for when can they do the work that is going to hamper them. Such a question and mindset can really trigger the employee and hence, should be refrained.

So, these are a few points that managers can keep in mind to ensure the mental well-being of their employees. After all, a healthy mind is what can be the best on the table.


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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.
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