Of the roughly1,650 calls a month -55 calls a day -the Jeevan Astha helpline receives from across the State, around 550 are from young professionals who feel too much pressure at work and harbour suicidal thoughts, said officials at the helpline.
A senior counsellor with the helpline, said, “The 15-30 age group is the most susceptible to suicidal thoughts and the one that reaches out for help.The three main reasons that lead to suicidal thoughts among them are problems in professional life, relationship problems and addiction.“
PI Pravin Valera of Gandhinagar Police, liaison officer for the helpline, said, “Young professionals and entrepreneurs are susceptible to suicidal thoughts.Recently, we got a call from a young man who was ready to jump into the river. He called the helpline and told the counsellor that his start-up had failed.He was in debt and was contemplating suicide. It took 6-7 counselling sessions to bring him back from the edge.“
Jeevan Astha is the suicide helpline managed by Vandrevala Foundation which works with the Gujarat Police’s Suraksha Setu programme to help people with problems they cannot deal with and dissuade them from committing suicides.
Confirming this trend, Dr Prakash Mehta, head of the psychiatry department at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Asarwa, said that almost one-third of patients coming for treatment in the age group of 25-35 years suffered from work related stress.
Dr Mehta said, “We get around 200 patients a month who come to get treated for job-related stress. These account for one-third of all patients who visit the department. This kind of stress is mostly prevalent among men.“
Even physical health affected
Speaking on the reasons for this stress, Dr Mehta expounded, “Constant pressure to perform well and lack of job security are primary reasons for mental and health issues among young professionals.“
The HOD warns that it is not only mental health, but also physical health that is affected by workplace stress. Dr Mehta said, “Blood pressure, diabetes and obesity among the young is constantly rising due to workplace stress.“
Dr Hansal Bhachech, a consultant psychiatrist, said that 30 per cent of the patients who visit him have stress due to work related issues.
Dr Bhachech said, “Around 30 per cent of my patients in the age group of 25-35 suffer from work-related stress. A further 30 per cent of the patients have problems which are accentuated by job stress. Patients with depression and anxiety suffer even more as work stress inundates them.“
Speaking on the progression of work stress on young professionals, Dr Bachech said the age group of 25-30 years suffers from teething problems at new work places and find it hard to adjust in a fast-paced environment different to that which they have had up until that point. The age group of 30-35 years suffers from performance-related stress and handling of juniors and teammates at work.
Problems and solutions
Human Resources Professional Haresh Chaturvedi spoke to Mirror about the most common problems and solutions related to stress experienced by employees.
Chaturvedi said, “Work-life balance is a must. Employees should work and enjoy it too. Employee engagement and counselling are also important. Stress is caused when the employee does not enjoy what heshe is doing.“
He added,“ In such cases the HR must counsel these employees and transfer them to departments where they start liking their work. We have to make employees mentally strong to negotiate stress. Days are not far when companies will require psychologists if counselling and proper mentoring is not carried out periodically.“