"We never associate a person being sick to a mental health issue,” the CEO said.

 Bengaluru startups chill pill policy Paid leave for employees to tend to mental healthRepresentational Image
Atom Mental health Monday, October 09, 2017 - 19:30

After organisations began to provide period leaves, a health tech startup has come up with a policy to recognise mental sickness as equally important as physical wellbeing.

Bengaluru-based DocsApp has started granting mental health care leaves as part of their sick leaves given to the employees. The company is a mobile app that allows users to access specialist doctors via chat or call in under 30 minutes.           

Read: The News Minute Series on Mental Health: Why individual empowerment is key

“We believe in leading by example,” says Satish Kannan, the CEO of DocsApp.

“Everyone in the team is entitled to a ‘Stress Day Off’ so that they can use these leaves to take time off to pay heed to their mental well-being and also simply to blow off some steam,” he adds.

Quoting a WHO study which found over 300 million people suffer from depression, the company said that there is a genuine lack of awareness about mental health and its effects. 

“We automatically associate 'sick leave' with someone being physically ill. It has been drilled into us that when we're sick we need to consult a doctor and take the prescribed medicines.  However, we never associate a person being sick to a mental health issue,” he says.

“Lack of awareness about mental health issues has hindered people from seeking help from a specialist when they're mentally disturbed. Getting over a mental health issue is a four-step process — Awareness, acceptance, seeking help, undergoing treatment patiently,” he adds.

“Seeking help from a specialist and following the treatment is vital. With our fast-paced lives and constantly evolving work environment, it is crucial to create awareness about mental health,” the company said in a statement.

It was only in March that the Mental Health Care Bill, 2016 was passed by the Parliament. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences, Bengaluru in 2016 estimated 13.7% of the country's population suffers from mental illness. 

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