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Ravi wanted to buy a luxury car, against the wishes of his conservative family. The increase in EMI would be taken care of in the upcoming hike and would offset tax. Couldn’t they see it? Grudgingly, they eventually agreed and Ravi was finally getting to live his childhood dream!
Alas, a week after he excitedly bought the new car, the unthinkable happened. A dangerous virus that seemed to be restricted to a distant land, had struck home. Soon, WHO had declared it a ‘pandemic’.
His company canceled the salary hikes and announced that job cuts would follow. Ravi was now stuck at home with an increased EMI and no salary hike, facing job uncertainty, scared of losing life, and that of his loved ones. A month of anxiety and Ravi finally suffered a panic attack.
Ravi was luckily rushed to a doctor to receive help.
However, there are millions of others like him who are reeling under the repercussions of the pandemic but having to silently suffer through it. Women in general, and particularly those working from home who have been cut off from support systems of maids, nannies, and caregivers are physically and mentally drained.
It is during times like these, that mental wellness support offered by organizations can especially prove to be a lifeline. Even for the most balanced of us.
The looming mental health crisis
An Australian survey reports that due to the current pandemic, around 30% of participants suffer from high levels of depression and anxiety.1 Interestingly, ‘YourDost’ states that 65% of their survey participants are stressed by the pandemic.2
Psychologists have for a while now been emphasizing the massive hidden impact of such overwhelming gloom brought on by a pandemic. It could manifest as anger, anxiety, sleep, and diet changes, loneliness, stress, disorders, phobias, behavior change, and low productivity, amongst several others.
In homes where there are alcoholics / drug-addicts or those recovering from it, a pandemic or a lockdown situation can turn particularly oppressive and violent as well. Similarly, for those who experience domestic violence and marital issues. In the case of the loss of a loved one during such tenuous times, the suffering can be all the more intolerable.
Thankfully, several corporates have identified this unfolding crisis and have devised ways to help employees handle psychological distress.
Mental wellness support for employees
Organizations are approaching mental wellness during the current pandemic with a multi-pronged approach.
Organizations are making it clear that experiencing stress and its manifest repercussions are normal during a pandemic. They are doing a great job guiding staff to understand triggers, identify signs, and providing simple preventive and remedial measures to mental wellness.
As the pandemic has the power to darken our visions, organizations are emphasizing on an ‘internal locus of control’ – reorienting us to acknowledge that our actions influence results and provide a sense of control over the environment.
Employees are being advised to pivot with a ‘growth mindset’ (i.e. ‘the love of challenge, the belief in effort, resilience in the face of setbacks, learning from criticisms and finding inspiration in the success of others’).
Talking with someone trusted can help us activate the different channels of healing ourselves.
Given their unenvious task of having to terminate employee contracts, even those in HR opt for EAP, lending further credence to EAP.
Notwithstanding the contagion effect, COVID-19 has made us question our mortality, work, life, travel, relationships, finances, and everything that we earlier took for granted. And has resulted in a huge toll on our mental health.
A reason for cheer, amidst all worldwide distress, is witnessing several organizations dealing with the mental crisis proactively. After all, mental wellness is the essential first turn of the wheel in dealing with ourselves internally as we get ready to deal with the virus outside.