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Depression at workplaces : A major health issue in India

Depression at workplaces : A major health issue in India


  • GS 2 || Governance || Human Development || Health

 Why in News?

  • Companies in India don’t recognise the problem of depression among its staff.

 Basics-Status of mental health issues in workplaces

  • Globally, WHO says that around 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression and it is the leading cause of suicide among 15-29-year-olds.
  • 50% of India’s workforce suffer from some form of stress and of these, as much as 8% are showing a high tendency to commit suicide.
  • Stress levels of women employees are higher, particularly in India.
  • Urban areas have seen more depressed cases.
  • The number of workers, severely depressed or vulnerable to taking their lives, is increasing in India.
  • India is on the verge of a mental health epidemic with employees across the corporate sector bearing the brunt of it.
  • Depression among employees is a big cause of lost productivity.


  • According to a Wall Street Journal report, Indian Millennials spend more time at work than their counterparts in 25 other countries.
  • However, employees might not be keen to seek treatment, fearing that it would jeopardise their career and even personal life.

 Causes for depression

  • Most of the people across the country are depressed by work, money and family issues.
  • Many people suffer from extreme stress as a consequence of pressure related to jobs.
  • Experiencing workplace fatigue, sleep disorders and a general feeling of ‘poor health’.
  • Companies or HR departments rarely make any attempt to gauge employers from their mental health perspective.

 Symptoms of depression

  • Giving up – not trying to make a difference
  • Social withdrawal
  • Passivity
  • Decreased effectiveness at work
  • Decreased problem-solving ability
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Withdrawal
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • A visible change in performance
  • Inconsistent productivity
  • Increasing errors and diminished work quality.
  • Overly sensitive reactions

 Way Forward

  • Companies in India have to frame policy that deals with the mental health status of an employee with an overall guideline from the government.
  • Thus, corporate India needs to rethink in terms of the work style, work hours and opportunities at the workplace.
  • Good working conditions (adequate levels of light, clean air, minimal noise, comfortable temperature)
  • Jobs that offer an opportunity to use and develop skills.
  • Clear performance expectations and support to meet these expectations
  • Within the workplace, if the conversation becomes uncomfortable for the employee, he or she should be referred to a more clinically trained person.
  • Every employer must introspect his/her organisation regarding inadequate health and safety policies, poor communication and management practices, low control over one’s area of work and low levels of support for employees as laid down by WHO.
  • Thus, Corporate India must detect and recognise depression among its staff, intervene at the right time, support them with all kinds of programmes and help them to be productive.

 Additional Info

  • One of the reasons why the word depression is often misconstrued is because it is used in day-to-day conversation to express a bad mood. However, there is a difference between the mood swings we experience everyday and clinical depression.

 Mains Question

  • The fact that every 6th Indian suffers from depression is reason enough to make mental health a priority.Examine.