The competitive corporate landscape and globalisation are taking a toll on the employees’ physical and mental health, and companies are realising they have a role to play in their well-being. Many companies have now programmes that help their employees deal with stress and other related mental issues.  

Nimisha, a 26-year-old IT professional from Kochi, was grappling with severe mood swings that began to take a toll on her work performance and personal relationships. Nimisha started a journey to improve herself by availing therapy through an online initiative offered by her employer. Ten sessions later, she felt like a better human being. This anecdote is a clear example of technology can enhance the life of an individual. 

In 2021, the World Economic Forum recognised digital care options as one of the top 10 innovations reshaping the landscape of mental health. When Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for FY 2022–23 in February 2022, she underscored the importance of modernising the healthcare sector through digital means. Her speech highlighted the launch of the National Tele-Mental Health Programme, an initiative featuring a network of 23 tele-mental health centers of excellence, aimed at providing essential mental health support to citizens. 

Recent surveys have brought to light the dire state of mental health among Indian corporate employees. A study conducted by MPower, an initiative by the Aditya Birla Education Trust, revealed that nearly 48% of Indian corporate employees are at high risk for poor mental health. Likewise, a survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP in 2022 revealed that 47 per cent of professionals consider workplace-related stress as the predominant factor affecting their mental well-being. The Aon India Primary Care Benefits Report 2023 echoes these concerns, with 82 per cent of Indian companies acknowledging that mental health can significantly impact business outcomes. 

Technological Innovations 

In response to these alarming statistics, several Indian companies are harnessing technology to address and enhance the mental well-being of their employees. For instance, Amazon India has pioneered the Twill Therapeutics programme, (exclusively for Amazon employees) granting employees and their families access to counselling services 24/7 through the Twill app. 

Netcore Cloud, a prominent MarTech and SaaS company, has collaborated with ICICI Lombard’s IL Take Care App, offering its employees round-the-clock access to therapists. Bhavana Jain, CHRO at Netcore Cloud, underscores their commitment to year-round mental health support and the creation of a nurturing corporate culture.

“We infuse our environment with fun activities, both indoors and outdoors, designed not only to build camaraderie but also to provide relaxation. By fostering a space where concerns are shared, ideas are celebrated, and mental health is prioritised, we empower every team member to flourish personally and professionally,” said Bhavana Jain, CHRO at Netcore Cloud. 

Employee Assistance Programmes

 Some companies have established Employee Assistance Programmes, such as ABB India, a company headquartered in Bengaluru. This initiative provides all ABB employees, as well as their family members, with confidential access to expert counselors, ensuring a safe space to discuss their concerns. ABB India has also launched the ‘Are you okay?’ campaign, which provides awareness sessions on mental health to further support their workforce. IKEA India similarly offers an online employee assistance program to bolster their employees’ mental well-being. 

In-house Counsellors

In-house counsellors are another essential component of these efforts. Dedicated professionals like Malini Roberts, an in-house counselor at a company, have played crucial roles in helping employees navigate challenges, including alcoholism and marriage breakups. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company initiated a tele-counseling program, enabling employees to seek guidance and therapy sessions remotely which was a lifeline for many in distress. 

Rise of Mental health startups  

Mental health startups have also emerged to complement these corporate efforts. Companies like Aumhum, Wysa, and Work in Progress have harnessed technology to provide mental health services. Aumhum has developed an app aimed at assisting working professionals in meditation and self-care reminders, while Wysa has created an AI chatbot that offers professionals a platform to communicate and express their emotions. 

In the fast-paced world of corporate India, prioritising mental health is important. As much as skills training, companies must make mental health a primary focus. Making these resources more accessible through technological aid is the way forward.