Vishwas, Student Guidance and Counselling Center of Jain (Deemed-to-be University) Organized 'World Mental Health Day' at CMS B-School Campus - a WHO initiative which is observed every year on 10 October.
There is a definite lack of care and importance of mental health in our society. When we greet each other, we ask “How are you doing?” We do not think it is appropriate to ask “How are you feeling?” This is especially true in corporate world. Though we often discuss with our colleagues about our physical ailment, mental health challenges are seldom a topic of discussion due to the stigma attached to mental illness. This makes it difficult to open up on mental health at workplace. When as the issue is not identified, resolving it becomes far from reality. If so, what can an organization do to ensure that they are mental health compliant?
Caution should be taken while handling an employee at a delicate mental health state. Excessive work pressure or termination of employment because of mental illness will have detrimental effects on the mental health of the employee. Organisations need to plan and design an integrated health and well-being strategy which would target preventive measures, early authentication, provision of professional support and rehabilitation. Involvement of all the stakeholders like the staff at all levels, caretakers and family members will be a well-rounded approach to cater to mental health at workplace. Organisations have a responsibility to support individuals with mental illness in either continuing or returning to work.
How can that be done?
Tweaking the interpersonal communication pattern to accommodate the needs of the employees who need help, like providing written work instructions that oral instruction will be confusing to the employee, coaching the supervisor to also include positive feedback while reviewing the performance of the employee, giving a platform for self-appraisal etc. would help. Providing flexible working hours, job re-designing, fostering an open and positive organizational culture, addressing the negative workplace undercurrents, and open door policy with the management can go a long way by helping an organization being a mental health inclusive organization.
The key spokesperson of the day was Ms. Purnima Ganesh, Counsellor, Trainer and Coordinator - helping hand at Banjara Academy. She laid emphasis on the need of mental health in society. The speaker began the session with an introduction of mental health and its importance and elaborated on the causes and its effects with reference to adolescents and young adults.
Ms. Purnima continued to emphasize understanding the uniqueness of every individual and appreciating the different strength or ability that each one has. Acknowledging and building stronger inner self and not looking only for outer beauty was strengthened with a story that helped the members in the audience to internalize the concept of mental health. Self-awareness and self-esteem are some of the areas the employees may need training on.
The MBA students benefitted immensely out of the session. The session attempted to make them change their outlook and work on developing a broader and better perspective about the mental health of self and others around them. Written feedback was provided and the audience suggested to conduct more such session frequently..
Besides the talk, the Student Guidance and Counselling Center also released a quarterly newsletter that would be reaching out to thousands of student and teaching fraternity on the needs and awareness of mental health. A self-help kit was designed and distributed among the audience with adequate information for a positive mental and emotional well-being.
A video display of different activities undertaken by JU Vishwas from the year 2009 till date was showcased to spread awareness of the activities conducted by the counselling center so as to enable the students to understand the importance of these activities. Another video, displaying the perspectives of center heads on mental health and the services provided by their respective Vishwas wing of their campus was also shown to spread the message of solidarity among the JU campuses. Dr. Dinesh Nilkant, Dean - Faculty of Management and Director - Admissions, Dr. Harold Patrick, Dr. Asha Rajeev, Director - Internal Quality Assurance Cell, Dr. Vasu B.A, Dr. V. Muralidhara, Associate Director, JU-SET, Dr. Mythili P Rao, Dean - Faculty of Languages, Dr. Nalini S, Principal, Jain College, Jayanagar, Dr. Mr. Balasubramanya N, Principal, R R Nagar, and Dr. S N Nataraj, Principal, V V Puram spoke about the positive impact made by Vishwas units.
The spokesperson was felicitated with a vote of thanks. The World Mental Health day celebration ended with an assurance that such meaningful sessions for students will be conducted in future.