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Deepika talks mental health with corporate bosses

Posted October 14th, 2023, 11:25 AM IST

Deepika talks mental health with corporate bosses

Empathy from the top management cadre and leaders who walk the talk are essential for ensuring mental health in the corporate world, particularly the start up scenario – this was one of the main takeaways from a talk moderated by actress and mental health activist Deepika Padukone with Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Mensa Brands founder Ananth Narayanan, both on the board of her Live Love Laugh Foundation.

The discussion, shared on YouTube, to mark Mental Health Day, underlined the
importance of acknowledging the reality of mental health issues in the working
world, and what needs to be done to help people face and overcome challenges.

Describing mental health as the balance sheet that cannot be seen, Ananth said
the business world needs to consider return on investment on mental health as an important matric. As deadlines, targets and pressure mount, employees often find themselves on the edge, anxious and stressed, noted Kiran. She stressed the importance of exercise and me-time in coping with mental issues, as also staying connected with family and friends. "As an entrepreneur, there are times
when you face challenges and failures, and that can be stressful. I think I saw
that same stress in some of my team members, and I realised that people could break down and suddenly get bouts of anxiety," Kiran said. She also flagged
age-related mental issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Deepika highlighted the importance of providing support for caregivers in such cases. "It’s for us as leaders to really start empathising with mental health issues in a different way. We often want to turn a blind eye, or we feel that it’s inevitable
or that this is something which others need to deal with," she said. Agreeing with her on the onus being on leaders, Narayanan said not only should they be empathetic to the mental health needs of their employees, they should also acknowledge their own vulnerability, and show the way in seeking help. He added that resources are more or less available now, but they address only a third of the problem, the remaining two-thirds revolving around the cultural approach to mental issues.

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