Why IT and Telecom employees are facing work-related depression
Technology/ Skill News
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"Till now, most of my patients with work-related depression and anxiety disorder were employed in the IT sector but now the telecom industry is catching up fast," says Harish Shetty, psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital in the city Mumbai.


The meltdown  in the telecom sector owing to stiff tariff war and massive debt has claimed significant victims, with companies being compelled to either exit or face acquisition.

Psychiatrists and psychologists have reported a spike in the number of patients from the telecom industry since last few months and the number is likely to increase further.


"I get eight to 10 patients a month from the telecom sector. Even a year ago, barely one or two would come from this industry," says Harish Shetty, psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital in the city Mumbai.


 "Till now, most of my patients with work-related depression and anxiety disorder were employed in the IT sector but now the telecom industry is catching up fast, and at this rate, there will be a 50% increase in their numbers within the next one year,'' added Harish.


Telecom workers are facing massive job losses  and absence of new job opportunities. Those who're still working are under severe pressure to procure as many subscribers from the competition. The telecom sector employees have been layed off by an estimate of 75,000 or 25% since the entry of Reliance Jio  last year. Telcos have been forced to make cuts or enhance margins by shunning processes and layoffs.


Counselors also reveal  that employees are stressed regarding loan re payments and are disclosing that procuring a job in another is a daunting task.


''There could be a rise in patients who are from the telecom sector as both perceived and environmental stress increases," says Sameer Malhotra, who heads mental health and behavioral science at Max Hospital in Delhi. 


Environmental stress originates from events like retrenchment. Perceived stress means referring to an individual who is experiencing loss of control over circumstances.


"Although factors like family support, parallel opportunities and personal predisposition make a difference , there has been a 20% increase in patients with work-related disorders in the last few years and turmoil in industries like telecom will add to the spurt," said Malhotra. 


The director general of Cellular Operations Association of India (COAI), Rajan Mathews has said that companies are trying their level best to help staff. "The rise in employees from the telecom sector heading for help is not surprising," 


"Although the sector has seen ups and downs, the ongoing one is a tsunami of sorts and is unprecedented. Telcos are trying to ease out the pain of employees as much as possible but they have to work within shrinking revenues. They are trying to reskill employees, working with outplacement firms to help their workforce,'' said Mathews.


Rimit