Psychological and mental challenges caused by the pandemic.. How do we survive the tragedies of Corona?
What psychological problems did individuals suffer during the pandemic? And what lessons can be learned from peoples who have gone through tragedies that left psychological trauma? Do the rich countries of the North attach importance to the mental health of individuals and are ready to learn from the experiences of the countries of the South?
These and other questions were asked by writer Rebecca Seale in a report published by the newspaper “The Guardian” (theguardian) British, citing a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, Dr. Brandon Court, stressing the importance of “social recovery when the trauma is collective, as in the case of war or terrorist attack.”
We all face stress and trauma
According to Kurt, who works in Liberia, Uganda and Nepal to study the psychological consequences of crises and disasters from Ebola to earthquakes, “many low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa, India and Uganda introduced mental, psychological and social health plans during the early months of the Covid-19 virus. Countries have previously been exposed to disasters, and have adopted plans that may be beneficial in richer countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.”
He adds that people who stand together during recovery from grief have better mental health than those who choose solitude or are ostracized. Kurt believes that the psychological problems we experienced during the pandemic were caused by the isolation we all experienced at a time when we were facing stress and trauma.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
According to Dr Sarita Robinson, who studies biopsychology at the University of Central Lancashire, not everyone exposed to a disaster develops a psychological problem, noting that “only 5% to 10% of people who have experienced tragic events develop clinical symptoms of PTSD.” .
Out of every 5 people exposed to a humanitarian emergency, about 1 person develops a psychological problem, while rates of serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia increase from 2-3% to 3-4%.
It’s not surprising that the high number of people with mental health problems is due to the pandemic, says Ashley Nimero, senior advisor to the Global Collaborative for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, which helps people working in crises.
Psychological challenges of the pandemic
The writer stated that the psychological challenges caused by the pandemic are enormous, but many psychologists believe that it has not been addressed at all. William van de Putt, co-founder of Mental Health in Complex Emergencies, confirms this, saying, “Covid has made it worse, and what is dismaying in global mental health is that no actual steps have been taken, not to mention that governments are not prepared to deal with these problems.” “.
Research conducted by the Center for Mental Health this year indicates that 8 million British adults and 1.5 million children will need psychological support in the next 10 years as a direct result of the pandemic.
Depression has doubled since the beginning of the epidemic
The writer quoted Lily Rayburn from the mental health charity Mind, that the British Office for National Statistics data already shows that rates of depression have doubled since the beginning of the epidemic, and that “the people who have been affected the most are those who had psychological problems before, and people from People of color, the disadvantaged as well as the young.”
Andy Bell from the Center for Mental Health stresses: “The UK healthcare system is based on intervention and delayed response to crises, with only a third of people with common mental health problems receiving support. We do not provide psychological support quickly and tend to wait until needs become People are so severe that specialist treatment is necessary.”
The author noted that work by Kurt and colleagues shows that early crisis intervention is effective, especially when it comes to common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, because it does not always require highly trained professionals.
Currently, a coalition of charities is trying to get the British government to “fund psychological support centers” and create a network of informal support centers for children and young people, including The Nast in London’s Southwark, which 78% of its goers say their level of psychological well-being is. It has already improved thanks to the services it provides.
The challenge posed by the epidemic
The ongoing nature of the epidemic is not good for mental health. “When exposed to long-term threats, our brains work in a completely different way, being constantly alert and alert, which reduces our ability to empathize with others,” Kurt explained.
In other words, “We have become more focused on a small group of people, and we consider anyone outside them as a threat. The challenge posed by the epidemic is that even members of the same family are now a threat to each other, especially before vaccination. Even children are a threat to the health of their grandparents and vice versa. Right. This puts us on the alert even with people who might help us. In this way we are less sympathetic and more inclined to judgment, prejudice and discrimination.”
Kurt adds that it has also become difficult for many people to control their emotions in what is called “self-regulation”, which also depends on our relationship with others. Living on your own or with your mini-family will not help you manage your emotions well.
“The most important thing that is recommended in humanitarian emergencies is to make sure that people are able to control themselves and their emotions. This ability is often lost when social relationships are damaged, which has happened as a result of this epidemic. The lack of social contact and the feeling of loss of control,” Nimero says. One of the factors that lead to poor mental health.
Who survives when disaster strikes? And why?
According to Amanda Ripley, author of Who Survives When a Disaster Happens and Why? “We must first recognize the need to reform the social fabric. In the aftermath of every disaster, people stand together for a short time before division comes. Therefore, reforming the social fabric must be A clear message.
Ripley stresses the importance of informal socialization such as school plays and religious rites in places of worship, as they are not only enjoyable activities, but are also beneficial to mental health and psychological well-being in the future. Knowing one another, she says, is how the resilience of society is built, so that it becomes difficult to distort each other’s images or expect the worst.
In his book Persistence, Bruce Daisley, former vice president of Twitter, spoke about resilience and how, in the midst of September 11, 2001, police and firefighters maintained their mental health through solidarity with their colleagues. “Resilience is social strength,” he says. “Social connectedness helps us recover better from crises, protects us from depression and improves overall well-being.”
Another way to reduce the psychological effects of a pandemic is to intentionally recall our experience, which is one of the techniques that can help us manage our emotions. Ripley suggests spending 15 minutes writing your own story about the epidemic as if you were a third-party observer. She says that through writing we can reorganize the experience we have had in our minds, which is not possible when you are involved in an ongoing catastrophe.
The author admits that she recently tried something similar, inspired by an article by Daisy Dowling in the Harvard Business Review. Rather than writing the story, she encourages Dowling to recount her accomplishments throughout the pandemic. These accomplishments could include managing your anger when picking up pencils your child dropped while studying at home, or cooking 654 dinners in a row since March 2020. It’s a great way to look back and reframe what happened in the past two years.