*It’s not just physical impact but COVID-19 wreaks havoc on Emotional and Mental states too, reveals YourDOST Mental Health Survey*
● Majority of Entrepreneurs & Self-Employed have Turned Exercising More to keep Stress Away; Students & working professionals turn to speaking more often with friends & family as their release
Hyderabad, August, 10th 2020: The Mental Health Survey conducted across 8,396 individuals by YourDOST (www.yourdost.com), a leading online emotional and mental wellness platform, reveals that when the nationwide lockdown had just started, 33% of respondents experienced ‘extreme to high stress’, 65% of respondents report ‘moderate to mild stress’ while 16% did not experience stress. However, these stress levels rose significantly as the lockdown period got more and more extended with 55.3% of the respondents reporting an increase in their stress.
Interestingly, (as illustrated in Figure 2 ) falling back on friends and family by way of being able to speak with them more frequently is the most preferred coping mechanism for the respondents, while exercising more frequently, reduction in consumption of news and social media usage helped them also found favor as other options. However, entrepreneurs and self-employed relied on exercising more to help them reduce stress levels.
Fig 2: Top 5 Coping Mechanisms
S. No. Overall Students Working Professionals Entrepreneurs/ Self-Employed
1 Speaking to friends & family more frequently Speaking to friends & family more frequently Speaking to friends & family more frequently Exercising more frequently
2 Exercising more frequently Exercising more frequently Reducing news consumption Speaking to friends & family more frequently
3 Reducing news consumption Reducing news consumption Exercising more frequently Reducing news consumption
4 Reducing social media usage Reducing social media usage Reducing social media usage Meditating more frequently
5 Meditating more frequently Meditating more frequently Meditating more frequently Reducing social media usage
The survey was conducted in two phases – at the early implementation of the lockdown and after the lifting of lockdown across most states. Overall, the study incorporated insights from 8396 people. Responses were taken from 1,196 people (560 during the lockdown 1.0 and 636 post lifting of lockdown) for conducting the survey and compiled the data to see how the stress levels and mental emotions are impacting human lifestyles. The insights were further combined with inputs from 7000 unique individuals who have undergone counselling sessions during the period of April – July 2020. Additionally, over 50 Psychologists, Counselors,
Psychotherapists and Coaches were interviewed to understand the kind of cases they have been observing in their respective practices during the lockdown period.
The survey covered both male and female individuals residing in Tier -I, Tier-II and Tier-III cities aged between 17 - 90 years and comprised a mix of college students, working professionals, entrepreneurs, self-employed individuals, housewives, unemployed individuals and retirees.
(Figure 3): As per the survey, loneliness or boredom followed by anxiety and anger were the top three emotions which impacted Indians the most during the lockdown. Biggest reason for ballooning of these emotions was uncertainty of when this lockdown or pandemic would end and when they can see normalcy again. Key reasons why the pandemic has been making people more stressed among the other key factors are health concerns and its impact on their job security.
Speaking on the survey findings, Mr. Puneet Manuja, Co-Founder and COO, YourDOST, said, “People across the globe are going through the most difficult phase of their lives. The impact of pandemic has led to untold and unforeseen uncertainties. Feelings of loneliness, stress & anxiety and hopelessness are dominant responses to the situation. However, people are also figuring out various coping mechanisms and are reaching out, exercising more, avoiding stimulations that are not helping them remain positive and also turning to meditation. We are witnessing a spike in traffic to our platform compared to the normal conditions indicating that their awareness levels related to the importance of being mentally and emotionally fit have also risen.”
(Figure 4): The survey clearly indicated that the sleep was the most affected activity due to the excessive stress levels during the lockdown and this followed by productivity and diet, overeating or undereating amongst the top impacts. Experts suggest that to deal with the situation, speaking with family members and friends would help. Exercising and reducing news consumption (currently full of negativity) will aid combat stress.
Figure 5: Stress levels have gone up by 55% compared to the initial lockdown. A fall in Work life balance has become the most common reason for the increase in stress levels during the lockdown period.
Figure 6 &7: Although no longer under lockdown, the people are still not feeling comfortable to step out and meet other people fearing that they might get infected or others might not be willing to meet them. Anxiety, stress are the most common issues for which people are reaching out for counselling support. The number of sessions in the last three months of lockdown (March to June) was doubled due to the similar reasons.
About YourDOST: Headquartered in Bengaluru, YourDOST is an emotional wellness platform which provides access to experts (psychologists, counsellors, life coaches and career coaches) and self-help tools (personality tests, motivational stories and psychoeducational content). With 900+ experts on the platform, users can reach out to them 24x7, anonymously for guidance related to COVID-19 related anxiety, relationships, career, academics, sexual wellness, self-improvement and more. Founded by Mr. Puneet Manuja, an IIM- Bangalore alumnus and Ms. Richa Singh, an IIT-Guwahati alumna in 2015, YourDOST has so far impacted over 2 Million lives in India. They have also collaborated with 100+ organisations (some of the top corporates and colleges) for providing emotional wellness services to their employees and community.