“This is the first time I am speaking about my depression publicly,” “You’re the first journalist I am opening up to about my mental health”— these were some of the first things that people I interviewed for my story on mental health in the workplace said.
My conversations with people while reporting on the mental health crisis at workplaces in India were difficult. There were tears, emotional moments, and awkward silence.
Tahir Quereshi, 42, a fellow journalist, who had been diagnosed with depression since he was a teenager, came across one of my posts on social media asking if anyone was interested in talking about any mental health issues which forced them to quit their jobs or take a break. He said he wanted to speak.
Quereshi told me that despite the thought crossing his mind multiple times, he never talked about years of trauma.
Urbi Chatterjee, 26, from Kolkata, whose story didn’t make it to the article, said she was glad that mental health was being covered.
Chatterjee moved to freelance after having an “unforgettable” experience with a renowned international non-profit organisation in Delhi. Her pleas for a reduced workload or a more strategic timeline were ignored.
People were teary-eyed while narrating their experiences. I felt overwhelmed at times.
Shruti Sharma, 24, who worked at a renowned private university in Jaipur, quit her high-paying job to prioritise her well-being.
Shruti was jobless and back home in Lucknow when we talked over a video call. After two talks, I sent the job vacancies that might suit her and checked in on her well-being.
When there are occasions to intervene while reporting, I have always told myself that we’re human beings first, which means putting humanity above everything else.
Sandeep Rathod, a 48-year-old, moved cities and changed careers after he realised he was missing out on seeing his daughter grow up due to erratic and hectic work schedules in his corporate jobs.
Rathod, speaking to a reporter about his mental health for the first time, said, “...bear with me while I find the words for it.”
You can read Aneesha Bedi’s full story here.