First it was Covid, now it’s job loss. Amid the growing number of layoffs, there has been an increase in patients coming from various companies – both office goers and home workers – with panic attacks and depression, fearing they will lose control of their immediate future plans, health care experts say mental health said Monday.
About 3,000 tech professionals lose their jobs on average every day during the month of January, including thousands in India.
According to health experts, the past 2-3 years of Covid lockdowns, deaths and fears of reinfection, and now mass layoffs, have resulted in extreme stress for Indian professionals.
Dr Saumya Mudgal, Senior Consultant, Psychiatry, Max Hospital in Gurugram, told IANS there has been a drastic increase in the number of patients coming from MNCs.
“These patients are usually presented with the problems of panic anxiety and panic disorder with agoraphobia and there has been a significant increase in such patients. Some of them are already on medication and the need for medication has increased and the severity of the symptoms has increased,” Dr. Mudgal to IANS.
According to her, many people come with new or recent symptoms of anxiety and adjustment problems related to anxiety or mixed anxiety.
Layoffs and job loss are very stressful experiences for most people. It is a time full of uncertainties, economic challenges and loss of control over your future.
According to Dr. Rishi Gautam, assistant professor of psychiatry, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., this can lead to significant mental health implications for a professional, causing anxiety, depressed mood, shock and sadness.
“It affects sleep and appetite, increases the risk of unhealthy consumption of drugs and alcohol, causes worse irritability, loss of self-esteem, family discord, etc.,” Dr. Gautam to IANS.
Dr. Arti Anand, a senior clinical psychologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi, said the pandemic and mass layoffs knocked out the working class without any warning.
“This leads to anxiety and stress. The way to deal with it is to use your available resources, don’t panic and stop thinking negatively about the future,” she advised.
Health experts said you can cope during these uncertain times by maintaining supportive relationships with friends and family, exercising regularly and practicing mindfulness.
Keep a positive attitude and watch. Steer clear of generalizing negative thoughts such as “I will never have a job again or I will never enjoy my job, etc.,” said Dr. Gautam.
Divya Mohindroo, founder of Embrace Imperfections and a counseling psychologist, told IANS those affected by the current layoffs need to deal with them practically, rather than emotionally.
“Start by making a list of potential employers, researching available opportunities and companies, looking for ways to upskill and even diversify into other industries if necessary,” she advised.
“Approaching employers while you are mentally prepared to describe their situation while pitching their candidacy. It’s also important to network — with friends, ex-bosses and colleagues,” she said.
All professionals should share their job responsibilities with colleagues at work and family members at home, which will help them not only to be accountable, but also to feel light about their lives and duties,” Mohindroo noted.