AMCHAM’s HR Committee organized an interactive session on ‘Mental Health in COVID Times’ on July 28th. The guest speakers were Ms. Niharika Thakkar, Founder, PsychLine and Ms. Saachi Arora, Consultant Therapist, PsychLine. Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM introduced the speakers and welcomed participants. In her opening remarks, she gave an overview of the challenges people have been struggling with, such as the absence of a structured work day, no informal communication amongst colleagues and work-life balance distortion. Ms. Niharika Thakkar, in her presentation, shared some common myths, problems and consequences around the topic of mental health. She highlighted the major challenges at work due to COVID, which includes disturbed schedule, inability to request leave, the never-ending work day, technical and logistic challenges, “water-cooler” chats, broken feedback loops and appreciation, communication difficulties, decline in team work, loneliness, frustration, anxiety, demotivation, burnout evidenced as procrastination, fatigue and seriously disturbed work-life balance. Some of the prescriptions included seeking a sense of normalcy, maintaining a routine, online open-door hours, positive affirmations and self-motivation, setting incentives at short intervals, scheduling pleasurable activities and digital detox. Ms. Saachi Arora covered more difficult challenges faced during the pandemic which includes family and adjustment problems, parenting challenges, anxiety (panic attacks), OCD (health anxiety), obesity and overweight, PTSD, grief and bereavement, loneliness and depression, domestic violence, pain disorders, sleep disorders, substance abuse and suicide. She stressed on the importance of recognizing warning signs which can be emotional, physical, cognitive and behavioral. She ended her presentation with a 2 minute mindfulness exercise with participants. It was followed by Q&A with the audience. Mr. Chaitanya N. Sreenivas, Chairman – HR Committee, AMCHAM and VP HR & HR Head India South Asia, IBM, thanked the speakers and summarized the session.
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