We attach great importance to the mental well-being of our staff. Recognising the importance of psychology for individual happiness, Karuna devotes time and resources to increase  awareness of mental health issues, both for its employees and its beneficiaries. On the 10th of October, which was World Mental Health Day, the Karuna-Shechen India teams came together for a seminar on mental health at our Jharkhand offices in Pawru. 

The fundamental issue of mental health

Mental health is essential to our well-being. The taboo surrounding it and the lack of care can have a lasting impact on individuals. It is essential to effectively deal with stressful situations, successfully manage teams, increase productivity at work and lead a quality life.

Karuna field staff support many people who are experiencing great difficulty. We are  aware of the psychological impact of this work, which is why we give the teams access to mental health professionals  for discussion and exchange.

Occasionally, we all experience bad days at work when everything seems to go awry. It is common to be overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, making it hard to muster the energy or motivation to complete even the simplest tasks. However, if these feelings persist for some time, it can lead to burnout, impacting relationships, work performance, and overall well being.

India is the most depressed country in the World according to the World Health Organization. Many people believe that mental illness is caused by supernatural or spiritual factors, and seek help from traditional healers rather than Mental Health professionals. 

Understanding the link between the body and the mind 

Ranit Dey, head of research and documentation in Jharkhand, comments on the lack of awareness on the importance of psychological well-being :

“I have observed many people struggling with mental health problems, yet they often overlook the potential threat it represents. Instead, they mock it and try to hide behind lies. Nowadays, we’re all very rushed. We have responsibilities we can’t ignore, which leads to stress, and we forget to take care of ourselves. This burden can lead to mental health problems.”

The seminar, led by the clinic’s medical director in Jharkhand, Dr Jaya Maitra, aimed to promote understanding and awareness of mental health issues, emphasizing the need to destigmatize these issues and build a supportive community.

According to Dr Maitra, “Throughout my 40 years of working with patients, I have come to understand that over 60 percent of the problems labeled as physical issues are, in fact, psycho-somatic disorders. Resolving the psychological problems are essential before addressing the somatic problem.”
This initiative goes beyond the seminar itself, paving the way for a wider and more enlightened approach to mental health within the community

Contribute to strengthening mental health

Cope through discussion 

In their discussions of various emotional health concerns, the stakeholders emphasized the importance of positive habits for mental wellbeing such as relaxation, self-care, and physical activity. They highlighted how people often search for unhealthy coping mechanisms to battle with stress and anxiety. 

They illustrated the intricate connection between our mental health and our daily actions. Drawing a parallel with the past, when leprosy was hidden due to social stigma, Dr Maitra explained that mental health education can lead to positive change by bringing awareness that dispels misconceptions. The key takeaway from the seminar was that psychological issues like anxiety, fear, and phobias should not be kept hidden, and need to be openly discussed without judgment.

Ms Nisha Chettri, Assistant HR shared her experience “It was a very insightful and engaging session where we learnt that Mental Health is not about being either healthy or sick but is rather a spectrum and everyone falls somewhere on that spectrum at different aspects of their life. The coping strategies were invaluable.”

The seminar was organized to create a platform for discussion. Following Dr Maitra’s captivating presentation, the forum gave participants the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue with the trainers, allowing them to expand on certain aspects of the presentation, or express their various psychological concerns. Bearing in mind that mental health remains a sensitive subject, the speakers gave everyone the opportunity to share their views by filling in a confidential questionnaire.

All concerned

Talking about her opinion about the seminar, the MEAL (monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning) Officer at Jharkhand, Ms Anisha Roy shares, “Dr. Jaya Maitra’s presentation was informative and insightful. I especially appreciate the inclusion of real-life examples, which helped us connect with the topic on a personal level. The seminar surely uplifted my spirits and was genuinely inspiring. I look forward to more such sessions that promote Mental Health Awareness and encourage positive change in our office.”

Anindita Kundu, Human resources Coordinator, shares how she was shocked to learn that 88% of the total Indian population suffers from anxiety and 14% suffers from stress. “We generally hide our mental health issues, suffer silently, and it aggravates stress and anxiety; but if we share our emotional issues with our loved ones and require a visit to the psychologist for counseling we can overcome depression, stress, anxiety and other mental issues.”

The enthusiastic participation of the Jharkhand team, their thoughtful questions about various mental health aspects and the animated discussions, were testimony to the success of the seminar. It was indeed profitable as our employees acknowledged learning some effective coping strategies to combat stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges. Through the mental health awareness platform, Karuna-Shechen India took a powerful stride towards ensuring that employees feel upbeat and supported in their professional and personal lives. 

Karuna’s aim in 2024 will be to raise public awareness of mental health issues. By relaying correct information within the community and combating pre-existing myths and misinformation, Karuna aims to empower people to take responsibility for their own health. The awareness programme will start in Jharkhand. The aim is to reach 1,200 people through this programme. This will be a crucial step towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health problems that will lead to improved health and well-being of the target population.

Participate in mental health awareness for better health