When work pressure turns deadly

90% suicides happen because of undiagnosed mental illness

From opening a store in 1996 to having 1,752 stores in the present time, success of VG Siddhartha's premium coffee brand, Café Coffee Day, has been an enviable journey. Being the founder, Siddhartha had to deal with a lot of work pressure which further led him into depression. The effect was so severe that he decided to end his life – leaving behind a note stating himself as a 'failed entrepreneur'.

The news of his suicide and the dead body found on the bank of a river, left everyone in a whammy.

Such incidences, where many artists, celebrities, and top-notch businessmen ended their lives because of increased pressure, have become very frequent in the past few years, and as per World Health Organization, workplace stress is the most dangerous form of stress. It is the response people may have when presented with work demand and pressure. Basically, any issue in the workplace can affect a person's wellbeing, and that is what leads to mental health problems like anxiety, depression and sometimes suicide.

Thus, to understand the reasons of such actions, to know what might have gone wrong, and what can we do to make it right, Millennium Post talked to various experts in Mental Health sector.

According to Dr. Aditi Govitrikar, Psychologist, just like success and failure are the reason for happiness and sadness, respectively, they affect one's mental health too.

"There are certain kinds of disorders which are common to the entrepreneurs, or bold people who have made very risky decisions in life and achieved success. The most common disorder with Type A personalities and entrepreneurs is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, which is also called Super Achievers' Disease. Then there is, of course, depression that an entrepreneur faces when he goes through the down-phase of his business because they can't show vulnerability," she explains.

According to a recent national mental health survey, over 150 million people in India are in need of serious mental health care interventions. Despite the fact that a large percent of our population suffers from some form of mental illness, mental health issues are considered a social taboo in our country and remain largely ignored.

Talking about the same, Dr Shweta Sharma, Clinical Psychologist, Columbia Asia Gurgaon, says, "Our culture is such that a person juggles multiple relationships – social, familial, professional. He/ she has to deal with immense expectations and criticism, and that just increase the stress levels."

A study of 1990-2016 published in The Lancet indicates that India accounts for 37% of suicides in women and 24% of suicides in men. Individual 15-39 years old account for the largest number of suicides in India. There has been a 40% increase in suicides in india between 1990 and 2016.

Addressing the issue of increasing suicide rate, Kamna Chhibber, Clinical Psychologist, HOD, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, states that the reasons for someone to think of suicide can be many. It is usually not a decision taken in a moment. The individual typically does not see a solution to their problems, struggles to share and express what is happening which can prompt him to take such a step."

It is important to know that 90% of those who commit suicide had an undiagnosed mental health illness and 70% of these had an undiagnosed depression.

Dr Prakriti Poddar, expert in Mental Health, HR, Corporate and Education upliftment, Managing Trustee of the Poddar Foundation feels that creating awareness, sensitising people to understand clinical conditions, and accept them is very important. Simultaneously it is essential to reach out for help – making them comfortable to talk to the close ones, reaching out to experts in extreme cases, or calling helplines if needed.

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