The year 2020 has given a huge amount of screen time to the global population in an age saturated with digital devices. We wake up to the screen, talk to the screen, work on the screen and even sleep after having the last look at the screen.

The only contact with the ‘non-virtual’ world was, till recently, the entire exercise of getting ready and going out to work. Offices were the spaces for socialization in this increasingly isolationist world. It was the only remnant of effort we made to have actual conversations with people around us.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created a parallel ‘mental health epidemic’. In the interim future, we have realized that we can ‘work from home’. We don’t go out to socialize. We are bombarded with the news of the sinking economy every day.

Many of us do not remember the last time we read any good news from around the world. Considering the lack of awareness around mental health issues, this parallel pandemic is going to take a much longer time to be controlled.

The cases of depression, suicidal tendencies and domestic violence have increased manifold during the multiple lockdowns. While the lockdowns were essential to control the Pandemic, it has led to the magnification of our sedentary lifestyles. We have given up the mere effort to get ready for work. Many people are not able to balance their personal and professional lives in the household setting. All we think about is about the possibility of lay-offs by our company. We are saving money, but we are losing our mental health and well being.

This issue is faced by corporate professionals to a high degree. They do not have the avenues to discuss and vent out their issues to anyone around. The rest of the family is unable to understand and deal with the behaviour changes caused due to the corporate work load. Communication gaps and misunderstandings are rapidly rising, along with the rising work pressure. This results in domestic tensions and overall lack of mental peace.

42.5 % of the working professionals suffer from depression or some form of anxiety disorder. That is one out of 2 employees (study from ET Contributors). It’s a need of the hour for corporate houses to take some serious steps to implement mental health awareness programs. To talk about this issue, India Future Foundation, in collaboration with Cyber Saathi, organized a webinar titled ‘Managing mental health while working from home’. We had a panel of experts from varied fields to talk about the issues faced by working professionals in online spaces.