Mental Health cost to country
The government will institute the National Tele-Mental Health Programme soon to improve the mental health infrastructure in the country | Photo: iStock

Poor mental health costs Indian employers over ₹1 L cr a year: Survey

According to a Deloitte survey, 80% Indian workforce reported mental health issues over the past year; maximum cases seen in IT & ITES, consulting, banking & financial services, e-commerce and education

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In an effort to improve the mental health infrastructure in the country, the Indian government will institute the National Tele-Mental Health Programme (NTMHP) soon. The NTMHP was first announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Union Budget 2022-23.

In India, nearly 14 per cent of all adults suffer from a mental disorder of some sort, the National Mental Health Survey 2019 revealed. It is estimated that nearly 56 million individuals in the country suffer from some form of depression and another 38 million suffer from anxiety disorders.

Also read: World Mental Health Day 2022: Theme, significance, impact of COVID

In economic terms, the loss due to poor mental health in the country comes out to be around $1.03 trillion between 2012 and 2030, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Global rise

Over the years, mental health issues have seen a steady rise globally, accentuated further by the onset of Covid-19. According to WHO, India accounts for nearly 15 per cent of the global mental health burden.

Poor mental health amongst employees has cost Indian employers around ₹1.1 lakh-crore per year, reveals a recent survey by Deloitte.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP’s report, titled ‘Mental health and well-being in the workplace’, compiled insights from 3,995 employees, to analyse the current state of mental well-being amongst Indian employees.

Workplace-related stress

Around 47 per cent professionals surveyed consider workplace-related stress as the biggest factor affecting their mental health, followed by financial and Covid-19 challenges.

Also read: Pothen’s films addressed mental health much before society woke up to it

According to the survey, 80 per cent of the Indian workforce has reported mental health issues during the past year. The top five industries by percentage of employees reporting an increase in mental health symptoms due to COVID-19 are IT and ITES (61 per cent), consulting or business advisory (60 per cent), banking and financial services (60 per cent), technology, e-commerce and start-ups (57 per cent) and education (51 per cent).

While most Indian corporates have recognised the importance of employee well-being, the share of mental health measures at the workplace is still limited.

Low govt spending

Despite the high prevalence of mental disorders and the immediate need for support for patients, government spending too on mental health infrastructure remains low. While ₹670 crore was allocated for mental health in the fiscal, it represents just 0.8 per cent of the overall healthcare budget.

Also read: Govt to soon launch national tele-mental health prog, toll-free helpline no.

Of the ₹670 crore, about ₹630 crore is earmarked for the running of NIMHANS (₹560 crore) in Bengaluru and LGBRI (₹70 crore) in Tezpur, two government-run mental health institutions in the country. The remainder is used for establishing centres of excellence and improving the departments of psychiatry in medical colleges across the country.

Each district also has an additional allocation of a maximum of ₹83 lakh from the Flexipool of the National Health Mission, though there is no information about how much a district is using out of that fund pool.

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