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Mental Health at Work

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Health

Source: WHO

Context: WHO and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have called for concrete actions to address mental health concerns in the working population.


  • Over 12bn workdays are lost annually (costing about $1 trillion) due to depression and anxiety
  • Work and Mental Health are closely intertwined: Good mental health enables people to work productively and a good work environment induces good mental health.
  • WHO’s World Mental Health Report 2022 showed that of one billion people living with a mental disorder in 2019, 15% of working-age adults experienced a mental disorder.
  • Work amplifies wider societal issues that negatively affect mental health, including discrimination and inequality.
  • Bullying and psychological violence (also known as “mobbing”) is a key complaint of workplace harassment that has a negative impact on mental health.
    • Yet discussing or disclosing mental health remains taboo in work settings globally.
  • WHO Mental Health Atlasfound that only 35% of countries reported having national programmes for work-related mental health promotion and prevention.
  • COVID-19 triggered a 25% increase in general anxiety and depression worldwide.

Significance of Mental Health at work:

  • To uphold human rights
  • Achieve SDG 3 on health and SDG 8 on decent work for all
  • Reduce discrimination
  • Increase labour productivity

Measures suggested in the guidelines:

  • Psychosocial Risk management: Managing worries about close ones, their health and safety status, and business and societal interests.
  • Promote mental health through training and improving mental health literacy
  • Supporting those with mental health conditions to become productive


Government Initiatives

  • Constitutional Provision: The right to Health (including mental healthcare) is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • National Mental Health Program (NMHP) ( To address the huge burden of mental disorders and shortage of qualified professionals)
  • Mental HealthCare Act 2017(Guarantees every affected person access to mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government)
  • Kiran Helpline(Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (2020) launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline)


Insta Links

Towards a stronger Mental Health Strategy


Mains Link

Q. Mental health is one of the most neglected social issues in India. Comment. (10M)