Mental Health At Work – A Conversation

Inhuman deadlines! 

Multifarious challenges!

Misguided conflicts!

Barrage of calls and uncalled for reminders!!


The list goes on and on…

A candid interaction reveals it all..


Claire – Hey Zane. How have you been? 

Zane- Hey Claire. Am doing fine. As much as I can. Thank you for checking on me. How have you been? 

Claire- Well.. It’s just another regular day. Strewn with zoom meetings with the boss and the team, followed by the ritual of relentless follow-up calls with clients/agencies. Quite disheartening to know-how business has collapsed and the situation just seems to be worsening with each passing day.

 Zane- I hear you. I feel you. We are sailing on the same boat. 

Claire- To top it all, in the garb of ‘smart work’, ‘client relationship management’, irrational demands are being put forth by the management. Deaf to the legit market responses and ruthlessly rubbishing our attempts to convey it, this approach is backfiring us.

Zane- Yes, my friend. Almost every review meeting is yet another episode of abject humiliation. Trying times like ours calls for more understanding, support, and appreciation.

Quite sadly, it’s a misfortune that it is the exact opposite.

 Claire- I seem to be hyperventilating over these review meetings, panic uncontrollably, when my phone rings, flashing my boss’s name on the screen. The very thought of engaging in a conversation makes me tremble with fear.

Zane- This is really scary. Have you been sleeping well? The work environment is taking a toll on your mental health.

 Claire- Now that you asked, I have not been sleeping well. My appetite and sleep patterns have become terribly erratic bordering on being dysfunctional.

 Zane- This is outright outrageous.. Life is more precious than your job. Please do not let it get to you. Do not let it wreck your peace of mind

 Claire- ‘Peace of mind’- Did you say?? That sounds like rude sarcasm, if not an alien concept. Must admit though that it feels nice to be heard.

 Zane- Always. Like I said that we are in the same boat. I truly feel your pain.

 Claire- The other day, I chanced upon an article on corporate mental health. Wholeheartedly could identify with it.

 Zane- What is it about?

 Claire- The article deals with how our work, a leading source of stress, triggered mental illness. My distressed self found a validation. How companies must create, re-visit policies advocating the importance of mental well-being. Mental health was and would always be related to happy and productive employees. You must read it.

 The article mentions how debilitating a toxic corporate environment can be. Corporate mental health is gradually assuming prominence, in the light of the ever-increasing attrition, downsizing, infeasible, bordering on being un-realistic targets, and sparsely spread meager payouts. Sustainability of the corporate world firmly depends on the robust health of its most treasured element – ‘human resources’.


*Data from different countries around the world indicate that mental health problems are a cause of several employees dropping out of work. In the Netherlands, around 58% of the work-related disabilities are related to mental health. In the UK, it is estimated that around 30–40% of the sickness absence is attributable to some form of mental illness.


Zane- What about India? The figures must be quite disturbing too.

Claire- Yes absolutely so. Let me read this nugget out for you…


“A 2016 study involving over 6,000 employees in multiple cities [in India] … found that 80 percent of the respondents exhibited symptoms of anxiety while 55 percent had symptoms of depression. A bigger worry! The study found that between 2008 and 2016, the risk of suicidal behavior in India nearly quadrupled —from 2.1 out of 10 employees to 8.21…. ‘Mental health is the single most important health issue in the workplace. This is not only because mental health problems, including substance abuse, are a leading cause of lost productivity and sickness, but because workplace practices can worsen or enhance the mental health of workers,’ says Vikram Patel, professor and research fellow, department of global health and social medicine, Harvard Medical School.”1

Another friend of mine had penned down a few lines showcasing how tormented and drained she felt while being employed with a corporate world. Will share it with you. It is heart-wrenching.

 Zane- Yes sure. Sad to hear about it.

 Claire- Ooh! Am only a few mins away from yet another internal call. Let us up catch up later again.

 Zane- Yes. Sure. Please take care.

 Claire- Thank you so much. You too.

About the Author
A media professional for a decade. Writing has always been a passion.A decade long professional journey is rich with life-changing experiences, which she attempts to express through her writing. ‘All that glitters is not gold’. Her writing on corporate mental health explicitly reflects that. – Riju Chaudhuri

Works Cited:


4 thoughts on “Mental Health At Work – A Conversation”

  1. My comments or remarks bears little relevance as I am today far away from the maddening crowd resting on some gifted cushion of leading a reasonable life without a gainful employment.

  2. Very accurately captured journey of working professionals who are struggling with and juggling professional and personal commitments, work-life balance and monthly instalments. To fulfil the liabilities, the core asset of one’s health and well-being is severely being compromised with. The emotional ‘balance-sheet’ is significant too, remembering the age-old saying ‘health is wealth’

    1. Takes one to know one. Am glad that the portrayal resonated with you. Lure of a ‘good life’ in the entrapment of fear.

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