Depression on the rise among IT professionals due to job layoffs

Rujuta Parekh
Friday, 28 July 2017

“Depression and anxiety go hand in hand. These professionals firstly do not feel like going to work. If at all they do go to work, they don’t feel like working. They are in a state of anxiety while talking to their team managers or bosses as they are under financial constraints, there is pressure on how the money will come in to maintain their particular lifestyle. The thinking process is less leading to catastrophization. They think that life is over but we have to tell them that the situation is difficult but not impossible”. Says Clinical Psychologist from Baner Dr Prajakta Deshpande.

Psychologists say these professionals are often found in a state of anxiety.

Pune: The massive layoffs in the Information Technology (IT) sector have begun taking a toll on the mental health of IT professionals. While depression among IT professionals is common, psychologists from the city have stated that the job crises in the sector has only aggravated the issue.

Speaking to Sakal Times, Clinical Psychologist from Baner Dr Prajakta Deshpande said, “Depression in IT professionals is very common and I see at least one IT client every day. But, the job layoffs have caused an increase in the number of IT professionals suffering from depression.

Another reason is that there is no sustenance in their treatments with counsellors as they see it as a waste of money.” 

Elaborating further, Deshpande said that these persons also suffer from anxiety. “Depression and anxiety go hand in hand. These professionals firstly do not feel like going to work. If at all they do go to work, they don’t feel like working. They are in a state of anxiety while talking to their team managers or bosses as they are under financial constraints, there is pressure on how the money will come in to maintain their particular lifestyle. The thinking process is less leading to catastrophization. They think that life is over but we have to tell them that the situation is difficult but not impossible,” she explained. 

Depression a common issue among  techies
- While depression among IT professionals is common, psychologists have stated that the job crises has aggravated the issue.
- “Depression in IT professionals is very common and I see at least one IT client every day,” says  expert. 

Adding to this, Consultant Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Managing Consultant – Jehangir Wellness Centre, Jehangir Hospital, Niloufer Ebrahim, stated that many IT professionals she deals with are savvy, but a large number are naive and fail to grasp the bigger picture. “The focus is on getting a job, the income or ‘package’ as they call it, and on ‘settling down’ buying vehicles, homes and falling deep into debt. I’m seeing these trends on the rise since the past 15 years. As markets become more uncertain and jobs become redundant, people who have poor coping skills and lack of vision will succumb to misery and depression,” she said. 

Speaking about the symptoms, she stated, “Stress, anger, aggression, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, fear, disturbed sleep, insomnia, the need for relief through substance and alcohol abuse, inability to concentrate, sexual dysfunction, frequent infections, joint pains, negativity, deterioration in social and interpersonal skills, poor productivity and little or no inclination towards ideation and innovation are some of the symptoms. Several symptoms are psychosomatic. 

Elaborating concern areas  for IT professionals, she stated a few including the fear of not achieving what they want to achieve, be it money, status, quick growth up the corporate ladder, earning enough to pay the EMIs and bills, loss of jobs and opportunities. “They also work across time zones and do not have union representation to have concerns addressed.

They fear ‘hire and fire policies.’ Work pressures are enormous, coping skills are often lacking, as are strong support systems. We see people getting into these careers because they are considered lucrative, but very few have had themselves assessed for educational and career compatibility,” she said.

Advising IT professionals and their families, Ebrahim said, “Be realistic in your ambitions. Use downtime to learn and develop yourselves. Try to learn more about economics, current events and trends, don’t get caught on the back foot. As for family members, stop trying to use ‘reverse psychology’ to goad or shame young people, stop having unrealistic expectations from them.”
 

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