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Loneliness, Work From Home, Insomnia: Challenges In The Pandemic That Have Affected Our Mental Health

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The pandemic has been brutal to the population throughout the world. The attending circumstances have led to the lockdown where we all are again boxed in our houses. The situation is overgrown, analysing the destructive situation where every day one listens about demises, mourning people and losing near ones. It’s very tough to mention a positive outlook and stress-free life.

The pandemic has appeared with its own set of challenges. Where every media channel, blog, and website discusses health policy delinquency, economic downfall, and the negligence of the system, we tend to forfeit focus on one of the significant subjects, mental health. Even last year, people worldwide faced depression and other mental illness challenges, yet it has not got strengthened to date.

covid feLittle girl wearing preventive face mask looks through the window curtain at home in quarantine days for COVID-19ar
Representative Image.

The prevailing situation not only makes it hard but also makes it intolerable for a lot of people. The pandemic has a psychological effect on each one of us.


Since humans are programmed to be social, the pandemic has not only stopped it but also made it fearful, which leads to the feeling of loneliness amongst individuals. Often individuals who suffer from long-term loneliness are far more inclined to undergo some depression. Research from 2018 shows a potential link between loneliness and depression.

Nonetheless, if left unchecked, it can trigger stress and head to one growing depression, as if the fallouts of loneliness on our mental health weren’t bad enough.

Work From Home

The lockdown not only occurs with stress and loneliness but also too much workload from the office. Work from home was once leisure, but now it is a concern of your productivity. Some call it a boon, a piece of the pie. Some have seen an intense increase in their productivity. Others reported losing their interest, inactivity and low productivity.

In evidence, according to a 2019 study, “Working from home considerably benefits employees by putting an end to office commute, increases productivity, and results in healthfuller lifestyles.” 

Let us focus on some of the individual aspects where work from home didn’t result as leverage. People who found work from home to be a windfall were facing the issue to concentrate better as the home is full of distractions, so it was more difficult to perform better than the workplace.

Woman Working From Home
Representative Image.

Few employees lose the zeal to work as they were in the habit of meeting people every day in the office. They can’t do that at home as it impacted their coordination, and since technology has certain limitations, it was worse. This not only leads to less productivity but also increases shiftlessness, pending work, heading to stress.

The thriving situation where you are crushed with overloaded information every day is very stressful as it drives a feeling of suspicion for your own and you’re near one’s healthiness. The excess concern not only gives rise to an individual fear but also leads to anxiety. And the fake news industry makes it impossible to distinguish the validity from the fallacy.

“False news spreads much faster than true news owing to its ability to appeal to our emotions, and thus, capture our attention.” The pandemic has wreaked destruction on the nationwide and worldwide economy. Around 122 million people in India lost their jobs in April 202, according to estimates from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. This not only makes one anxious but also is a traumatic experience.

According to various research studies“Losing a job may take longer to recover emotionally than a divorce or the death of a partner.”


Now let’s glimpse how insomnia directs to depression. Around 50% of adults experience occasional insomnia. In the lockdown, several studies have come out where people worldwide have encountered sleeping disorders and an increase in insomnia cases across the globe.

Many people cultivated insomnia as remaining encompassed inside can have the unintended result of influencing our rest. Our “body clock” that makes a difference keeps up our sleep-wake plan, among other things. If your body clock gets aggravated for any reason, it can seriously influence your capacity to drop sleeping or remain snoozing and can lead to you feeling depleted and unfocused. In several cases, insomnia leads to triggering depression.

The fact that these are times of boosted stretch is evident. Whereas a few stretches are vital and fundamental, and thinking appears that when the levels cross a certain limit and are experienced for an extended period, they can lead to sadness. According to a new study, depression symptoms have been three times more prevalent during Covid-19 lockdown. According to another result, 65% of Indians are experiencing mental stress because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even after this is all over, we may still be mentally scarred.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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