Covid-19 intensified challenges on numerous counts, more so mental health front. Newer forms were found during the course of the pandemic. Raising a firewall against threats to physical health has had adverse consequences for mental health.
Recently, a survey, conducted by a United Kingdom based agency found that 75 per cent of the respondents faced ‘Zoom Anxiety’ this year as the pandemic popularised video-conferencing apps like Zoom to enable working and studying from home.
The agency surveyed 2,000 home workers and found one third of the respondents had ‘Zoom anxiety’— a term which refers to the physical feeling of distress caused by video calls, according to the firm Buffalo 7.
Having technical problems during a call and not knowing how to fix it was the biggest trigger, with more than 80% respondents feeling so. One can predict levels in Jammu and Kashmir where internet speed continues to be restricted to 2G levels barring two districts –Ganderbal and Udhampur. The lack of knowledge to fix the problem adds pressure of holding up clients or colleagues, making users feel incompetent, the survey noted.
All these experiences were not restricted to the United Kingdom as the use of Zoom and other such digital communications by employers, political parties, educational institutions and countless individuals soared across the globe, more so after the lockdowns were enforced to check the spread of Covid-19. Many workers and students were forced to work and study from home, respectively.
Being unable to read the caller’s body language during a video call was the second-biggest trigger. Other reasons include feeling like you’re being unheard, having too many people to focus on, and worrying about how you look in front of the camera.
Mental illness in Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be recognized as a significant contributor to poor health. This is not only reflected in the skewed ratio between patients and mental health professionals but also in the appalling treatment meted out to patients in spite of the concerns expressed by the courts, medical professionals, and the media.
Some ways to overcome Zoom Anxiety include practising presentations, limiting number of daily calls, and being prepared with technicalities beforehand. On a large front, there is need for incorporating provisions for recognizing newer forms of anxiety in the Mental Healthcare laws and fostering public engagement with matters of the mind.