Amanda Lemus, from SP – The epidemic does not only affect physical health. It has also been shown to be detrimental to the mental health of workers, a phenomenon that mobilizes analysts and researchers who deal with occupational psychology.
Those who work at home, for example, have the privilege of protecting themselves from the risk of infection and ensuring income. However, after more than a year of mixing personal and professional life for long hours at home, the model showed side effects, particularly on the emotional state of the workers.
“Trips outside the relationship, which exceed ten hours, without specifying the exact start or end time of work hours, have been costly for workers,” says Christian Dunker, a psychoanalyst and professor at the University of the South Pacific Institute of Psychology. The expert explains that constant exposure to conflicts between the public and the private affects from food to sexual desire.
The psychoanalyst explains that the general decline in sexual desire includes not only relationships with partners, but also pleasure of being present. People suffer from some kind of dread. One of the complaints reported in the virtual offices of psychoanalysts is working in automatic mode after work, without wanting to do anything. Kind of zombie effect.
Renata Papparelli, professor at PUC-SP and coordinator of the Action Center in Occupational Health (Nast), says workers’ sleep was already affected before the pandemic. It reported that people referred to insomnia due to the fragility of work, the narrowing and the reduction of vacancies with a formal contract.
“The epidemic has already brought challenges that would mean reducing work, but what happened was the opposite,” he says. “The workers were very demanding and had to convert their homes into home offices with their own money, many of them without the help of the company,” says the psychologist.
According to her, workers reported difficulty determining the flight. Most of them say they feel constantly alert, as if they’re working all the time awake. Many find it difficult to locate themselves in time and space. There are reports of people who dream of being maskless in the office, suffering from situations of distress and conflict, some of them even violent.
Therapists say working under the new normal has also resulted in excellent neurosis. The demand for high performance grew. “This has to be perfect in everything,” explains the psychiatrist, “and it gets worse in the home office, because there is no standard, and we don’t see other people working around us anymore.”
The specialists consulted in the report differ in the extent and nomenclature of the crisis that the patients reported, but agreed that at least three cycles occurred. First, there was the surprise and the need to adapt to the home office at the start of the pandemic.
Then, hopefully, something better will happen in the routine when the vaccines arrive. But as remote work continues, the following feelings include despair, boredom, intellectual poverty, and fatigue from social separation.
The excesses caused by the epidemic are also closely linked to gender issues. According to a survey by the University of the South Pacific Institute of Psychiatry, working from home increased the workload by up to 65%, and it was the women who experienced the overload of work from the home office.
USP research shows that women account for 40.5% of depressive symptoms, 34.9% of anxiety and 37.3% of stress. “The housemaid does a triple shift,” says Paparelli.
In the periphery, where the majority do not have a home office or regular work, the feeling of absolute insecurity, with constant exposure to the virus and the absence of alternatives to secure income Questions like “Will I be able to have lunch? What about dinner?”, Or “How can I leave the house for work if I don’t have someone to leave my child with?” Says Dunker, who accompanies people of various social levels.
The lack of routine, commuting to work and the overwhelming amount of voices caused mental health disruption in the most popular neighborhoods. “Prayers, hitting, parties; it is a part of society that has been compressed geographically and mentally.”
Since the death toll is also higher among the poorest people, this segment needs to handle mourning more consistently. “The scale of the losses in these communities was even greater, and the lack of a grieving process is brutal. It leaves dire consequences.”
However, the workers most emotionally affected are those in the lead in the fight against the virus. They live long hours, frustrations, but hope. Celeste Jobe, a psychologist at Das Clinics of the University of the South Pacific, who deals with the burns and ICU sector of Covid, says that teamwork is what keeps her active.
“The difference in supporting this is that we have a strong team,” he explains, “Today this group has an almost familiar friendship, and our working relationship has been strengthened.”
He remembered that there was no adjustment process and that it was necessary to learn to handle the situation by force. “In the beginning, there was a fear of infection, of endangering the body in a ridiculous way. And look, I’m doing serious things, but I wasn’t prepared for that,” he says.