As doctors, we are seeing many complaining of anxiety, insomnia and fatigue during the Covid-19 pandemic, with some ending up with depression and mental and emotional breakdowns.
The feedback I get from my patients is that certain factors aggravate the situation and cause more unnecessary stress for working individuals.
One of this is micromanagement from superiors at work.
Working from home often entails working for many hours, as many as 12 hours a day, peppered with e-mails and deadlines, some of which are not essential from the employees' point of view, but perhaps are needed by management to project a positive image to the higher-ups.
Not regulating such an approach leads to much damage to the workforce, especially more vulnerable individuals already coping with stress from family situations and the like. The fear of losing one's job for not performing drives workers to comply and not give feedback.
Singapore can be said to have done quite well thus far in managing the pandemic. However, we need to evaluate the "at what cost" factor.
Certain actions and decisions are necessary to adapt to the changing situations but let us not forget that the way such changes are undertaken may cause irreparable damage to the mental and emotional health of the population.
Acknowledging the increase in the number of those with mental problems is one thing; addressing the underlying issues that contribute to such an increase is another thing.
I trust that such action will not be ignored in the name of efficiency and key performance indicators.
Quek Koh Choon (Dr)