I’m a mental health practitioner living in London. Recently, I graduated from my program and came back home. I was so excited and looking for jobs. Immediately, the COVID-19 situation happened and I was housebound.

I had been just about to enter the workforce. I was facing anxiety. How will I find work? How will I pay my student loans? So many things were going on in my head. It’s an anxiety-provoking time. We don’t know what’s going to happen afterward, because the economy is bad, and the job market will be affected.

But my friends and I have always talked about starting something together. So when the lockdown happened, we started a mental health initiative. We all wanted to act at this time and so we did. We’ve created a startup called “Listen Works.” We do one-on-one online counseling. We receive a decent number of calls from people who are anxious and want to talk to someone.

We also started a project with kids. My friends and I realized that we have the chance to interact with each other online, but lots of children don’t. So we bring kids together in a space online, to play games together. We call it Virtual Activity Club. We recently had our first session with the kids. They were so happy seeing other children who just like them were stuck at home and couldn’t go outside and meet their friends. They said that they liked it, and one child even said that he wanted to keep in touch with the friends he made in the club. A parent also said she was happy that her child was engaged in something instead of complaining about getting bored.

We are trying to connect people. I think starting Listen Works has given us all a sense of purpose that is helping and connecting people and that, in turn, has helped us to deal with our own anxieties during this time.