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While mental health issues in the workplace are a reality for most companies, the stigma associated with mental health problems often prevents people from seeking help.

A study by Assocham showed that nearly 43 per cent of employees in the private sector in India suffer from mental health issues at work. Also, a WHO report in 2017 found out that 18 per cent of global depression cases originate from India.

While mental health issues in the workplace are a reality for most companies, the stigma associated with mental health problems often prevents people from seeking help. Stigma is the result of negative perceptions and stereotypes and reflects a lack of understanding about mental health issues. External stigma often involves negative opinions, judgements, comments, and assumptions made by others; internal stigma can take place when the person affected by mental illness internalises these negative messages.

Why Stigma a Major Problem?

Though most mental health problems are common and treatable, the stigma or negative stereotypes associated with mental illness often forces employees to not talk about the issue. Even in workplaces that are quite progressive, several employees keep their mental health issues under wraps fearing that being open to talk about them will hurt their reputation, compromise work relationships, or even put their job at risk.

Employees with untreated mental health issues tend to have more serious and costly health issues in general. For instance, their risk of heart attacks and strokes is twice as high, and people with mental health issues are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This all adds up to missed work days and a loss in productivity that can significantly affect the performance of organisations.


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Researchers found that among depressed patients, depression screening scores were higher during the pandemic than before it.

Depression remained common during the pandemic and worsened for some patients leading to increased visits to the emergency department for the treatment of anxiety and chest pain, finds a new study. The study found that nearly 40 per cent of patients studied reported new or continuing symptoms of depression during the first year of the pandemic in the US. "These findings are significant. In looking at the first year of the pandemic, we are already seeing the mental health effects on our patients," said researcher Heidi T. May from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute. "We know that it is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease; and if people are becoming more depressed because of the pandemic, in a few years, we could see a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease," May added.

For the study, the team examined 4,633 patients who completed a depression screening that is a standard part of primary care, before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. "Before" was between March 1, 2019, to February 29, 2020, and "during" was between March 1, 2020, and April 20, 2021. Patients were separated into two groups -- those with no depression/no longer depressed, and those who remained depressed/became depressed.

Using electronic health records, patients were then assessed for follow-up emergency department visits for anxiety and chest pain, said the study, presented at the American Heart Association's virtual 2021 Scientific Session. Researchers found that among depressed patients, depression screening scores were higher during the pandemic than before it. Depression was also associated with increased emergency department visits for anxiety. They found that the odds of visiting an emergency room for anxiety was 2.8 greater for people with depression than those without, and 1.8 greater for anxiety with chest pains compared to non-depressed patients.(IANS/ MBI)


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Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep

Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study. The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.

Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme. Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life. "The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.

"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added. The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.

woman sitting near pond Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep. | Photo by Nikolay Dimitrov on Unsplash

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The demand for mental healthcare has been increasing more than it ever was.

People's everyday lifestyle has become severely stress-inducing with all the societal pressure, the race to have a stable life, and as the constant feeling of being unaccomplished looms in their minds, the demand for mental healthcare has been increasing more than it ever was. However, it remains inaccessible to most, there are major barriers that hinder people from receiving effective treatment.

It takes a long wait for people to finally seek therapy and find a therapist who can understand the individual's lived experiences especially when they identify as LGBTQ+, disabled, etc. There are still mountains of additional hurdles to go to therapy and receive treatment.

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