The outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic has made work-from-home and social distancing the new normal. The effect of this has been disparaging for thousands of working professionals, with several of them suffering from mental health issues because of it.
As per data collated from counselling agencies, stress and panic attacks increased by as much as 35 to 40 percent in April. A report by The Economic Times stated that, ever since the lockdown was imposed, several professionals sought counsel to deal with mental stress arising out of isolation, which was ultimately leading to depression, anxiety, loneliness, paranoia, etc.
Several large firms such as Tata Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra, etc., have already taken cognizance of this and hired mental health experts to help their employees deal with related illnesses.
Yashwant Mahadik, who heads human resource of Lupin – another firm that has roped in mental health professionals, said: “Social isolation has become a challenge across industries. After a week or so (of working from home), people started to miss the office routine.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Because of the ongoing crisis that has affected most nations across the globe, counselling firms have seen an unforeseen spike in clients seeking mental health advice. One such counselling firm called 1to1help.net, for instance, registered with 40 new companies in the month of April alone to help their employees cope with mental health issues.
Usually, corporates take months to finalise a counselling contract, but the pressing need for professional counsel has changed the pace of it. Another wellness company called Optum has also reported a three-time increase in the number of calls seeking mental health advice over the past month.
The main reason behind the sudden surge in demand for counselling services is due to the absence of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) in most companies.To follow our full coverage on coronavirus, click here