New Delhi: Ever since the pandemic hit India over five months back, followed by an unprecedented lockdown, stress levels have been on the rise with 43 percent Indians suffering from depression, according to a new study.
Conducted by GOQii, a smart-tech-enabled preventive healthcare platform, the study surveyed over 10,000 Indians to understand how they have been coping with the new normal.
According to the study, 26 percent of respondents were suffering from mild depression, 11 percent were feeling moderately depressed, and six percent were facing severe symptoms of depression.
"The last five months have been unexpected. The situation has taken a major toll on the mental health of citizens. With the series of lockdowns, anxiety, job cuts, health scares, and the overall volatile environment, stress levels are at an all-time high.
"Copious amounts of stress can lead to depression. With the current lockdown and lifestyles drastically changing, we have seen that 43 percent of Indians are currently plagued with depression and are learning to cope with it," the study said.
To monitor the severity of depression in the respondents, the study relied on a self-administered Patient Health Questionnaire or PHQ-9 (a form of primary care evaluation of mental disorders).
It took into account nine aspects of an individual's daily routine, including interest levels in activities, appetite, sleep cycles, ability to concentrate, and energy levels.
"Our study indicates that an increasing number of people across the country are dealing with mental health issues triggered by the spread of the coronavirus and the consequent lockdown.
"The mounting uncertainty is the basis of the high-stress index which can be controlled with a balanced diet, changes in lifestyle and appropriate sleep patterns," said Vishal Gondal, Founder, and CEO, GOQii.
Those feeling depressed complained of having little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling hopeless, dealing with erratic sleep cycles, poor eating habits, low levels of energy, low self-esteem, having trouble concentrating, being restless, and having thoughts of self-harm.
"More than 59 percent of the population said they had little pleasure in doing things these days, out of which 38 percent have this feeling on a few days and 9 percent feel so more than half of the days. Nearly 12 percent felt this way almost every day in these times, the study said.
It pointed out that more than 57 percent of the respondents complained of feeling tired or having little energy through "at least some days in the last few weeks".
"At least more than 15 percent have this feeling more than half of the days. This leads to some people sleeping too much while some others have trouble sleeping.
"With the change in lifestyle, approximately half of the population is having trouble with their sleep," the study said.
"At least 7 percent of the population goes through this nearly every day while 33 percent experience it on a few days," it added.
Feeling hopeless, on the other hand, was not so common among the respondents. Only 10 percent of them said they felt "down and depressed" more than half of the days or nearly every day.
The study suggested that adding exercise to one's daily routine could help improve their mental health.
"Exercising can lead to endorphins (the happy hormone) which can help with depression. The more depressed you are, the more likely you are to not workout.
"But, it is important to cajole yourself into doing more things that make you feel happier," it said.
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Southampton: Pakistan slumped to 126-5 before a third stoppage for rain led to an end to play on the first day of the second test against England at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.
Abid Ali struck 60 after being dropped twice early in his 111-ball innings and was comfortably Pakistan's top scorer on a tough day for the tourists in changing weather.
Jimmy Anderson was retained for the match, despite struggling in England's three-wicket win in the first test in Manchester last week, and the paceman repaid that faith by removing Shan Masood (1) in the third over and captain Azhar Ali (20) after lunch. It gave England's record wicket-taker figures of 2-35 and he is up to 592 in tests.
After the toss won by Pakistan was made under sunny skies, Pakistan began batting in overcast conditions and a shower brought up an early lunch. More rain came midway through the second session, which the tourists finished on 85-2.
And only about an hour was possible after tea, when Pakistan lost three wickets including Abid, who edged recalled seamer Sam Curran to Rory Burns at second slip.
Burns had been the second slip fielder to drop Abid before lunch, the right-handed opener having already been given a life on 0 by Dom Sibley's drop diving to his left at third slip.
As with Burns, Sibley made amends by taking a smart catch low down to remove Asad Shafiq (5) to give Stuart Broad his first wicket.
That brought Fawad Alam to the crease for his first test innings in 11 years after being recalled and it last four balls, when the left-hander was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes for a duck. A not-out decision was given but England reviewed and Hawk-Eye showed the ball was hitting the top of middle stump.
Babar Azam was 25 not out when bad light eventually led to stumps being called. Mohammad Rizwan was on 4.
Pakistan trails 1-0 in the three-match series. Another victory for England will clinch a first test series against Pakistan in 10 years, and a second series of this pandemic-affected summer having already beaten the West Indies.