A study involving 6000 Indian employees of multiple cities stated that 80% of the participants exhibited anxiety symptoms and 55% showed depression signs. From 2008-2016 the risk of suicidal behaviour in India nearly quadrupled from 2.1 to 8.21 (out of 10 employees). Mental health at workplace includes not only stress, workplace relationships, work-life balance but also concerns like substance abuse, depression, anxiety and work harassment. All these are major causes of dip in productivity and may even cause absenteeism and/or impact the overall well-being of an individual in particular and company in general.
Corporate wellness focuses on imparting life skills, addressing factors of compromised attention, low confidence, declining performance, social anxiety, burnout, people management /communication skills, anger concerns, goals/ career confusions, team leading challenges, financial stressors, familial & relationship stressors , conflict resolution with work colleagues and learning coping strategies for difficult work situations like team pressure, delayed promotion, possible lay-off etc.
The therapeutic offerings do not end on the above mentioned issues. Counselling can also be a catalyst for change in an employee’s professional as well as personal life wherein honing competencies necessary for building resilience, patience, overcoming personal blocks like shyness, low confidence, body–image concerns, gender identity, workplace disparity , relationship struggles and stereotypical attitudes are sensitively spoken about and addressed with care.
Apart from regular therapeutic support it is also imperative to help a person in times of an emotional low tide. For instance loss in the form of death of someone close, layoff, relocation, reorg. changes, maternity mental health support , post partum adjustment, assisting differently abled, LGBT employees who battle stigma are some other areas where counselling can be a major gamechanger.
Critical incidents usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly and more often than not, managers are not prepared to deal with the emotional challenges that affect the employees who are witnesses to the events. Having an EAP provider gives comfort to the employer that experts are a phone call away, and they will visit the office premises to bring the situation under control, and help deal with the emotional challenges associated with the event.
When it comes to the life-and-death concerns a counsellor works with the affected employee and determines the strategies to mitigate the risk of suicide and offer interventions to help distressed employee get back on their feet. While some of the events are planned like a layoff or separation of an individual employee, in many cases these events are unplanned such as:
· Suicide or threat of suicide
· Death or serious injury
· Natural disaster such as an earthquake or flood
· Severe verbal aggression
· Bomb or hostage threat
Critical Incident debriefing is a specialized services whereby an experienced counsellor or psychologist visits the company premises to meet the employees individually or in groups. During these sessions, the participants are encouraged to speak freely about the experience and are provided with strategies for coping with the after effects of the event.