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How Mental Health Affects the Overall Achievement Within an Organisation

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Mental health problems affect many employees — a fact that is usually overlooked because these disorders tend to be hidden at work. Researchers analyzing results from the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative study of Americans ages 15 to 54, reported that 18% of those who were employed said they experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the previous month.

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All of us have the right to decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. For persons with mental health problems, achieving this right is particularly challenging. The importance of work in enhancing the economic and social integration of people with mental health problems is highlighted in this monograph. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has long recognized the importance of documenting the extent of disabilities among the labour force and setting up effective preventive and rehabilitative programmes. The ILO’s activities promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in mainstream training and employment structures. The importance of addressing specific issues related to the employment of persons with mental health problems has also been recognized. ILO promotes increased investment in human resource development, particularly the human resource needs of vulnerable groups, including persons with mental health problems. Employees’ mental health problems and their impact on an enterprise’s productivity and disability/medical costs are critical human resource issues. Increasingly, employers’ organizations, trade unions and government policy-makers are realizing that the social and economic costs of mental health problems in the workplace cannot be ignored.

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It is increasingly being recognized that the mental health of employees is a crucial determinant in their overall health and that poor mental health and stressors at the workplace can be a contributory factor to a range of physical illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, amongst others. In addition, poor mental health can also lead to burn-out amongst employees, seriously affecting their ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives.[Thippeswamy, 2007] Mental health problems have an impact on employers and businesses directly through increased absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, as well as an increase in costs to deal with the issue

[Verma M. M Phil, 2001] In addition, they impact employee morale adversely. Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity and human error. This means increased sickness absence, high staff turnover and poor performance in the organization and a possible increase in accidents due to human error. Work-related stress could also manifest as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances or various minor illnesses; as well as psychological effects such as anxiety and depression, loss of concentration and poor decision making.

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In sum, mental illness can have a devastating effect on an individual, his or her family, friends, and on the community in many ways. How it affects the individual is obvious, reduced ability to care for themselves, strong negative emotions, distorted thoughts, inappropriate behaviour, and reduced ability to maintain a relationship are only a few possible outcomes. On friends and family, it can be a major responsibility to care for someone suffering from a mental illness, the emotional and behavioural components of some illnesses can be very difficult at times to understand and to deal with

Mental illness also affects the community due to the high incidence of homelessness and unemployment in some serious disorders such as schizophrenia.

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Verma M. M Phil Thesis, NIMHANS Bangalore. 2001. Cognitive-Behavioural Stress Management for women software professionals.

Thippeswamy . M Phil Thesis, NIMHANS Bangalore. 2007. A study on stress and coping patterns amongst business process outsourcing personnel.

Naik NM. M Phil Thesis, NIMHANS Bangalore. 2008. A study on stress and coping amongst employees of manufacturing industry.

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