Description: Ok quick, what are the first 5 things that come to mind when you think of Covid-19 and the world right now? Now, of those 5 things, how many are psychological? I suspect stress or anxiety, or both are one the list but other than being facts of life currently how are you thinking about them? Like the weather as things to be tolerated, cursed, or ignored? How about as personal threat indicators like the beeps or steering wheel vibrations in new vehicles that are designed to warn you when you are drifting into something risky like a lane divider or shoulder of the driving surface? If stress and anxiety are like the weather then there may not be much you can do about it.. the rain is going to fall and the clouds will obscure the sun and being told to “put on a happy face because grey skies are going to clear up” just does not cut it as useful advice these days. Psychology has a lot more to say about stress and anxiety that just “here is your forecast for today” so read though or listen to the podcast of the article linked below that at least suggests some things to wear in our current stress storm and even some things you can do to manage or lessen its intensity.
Source: APS Roundtable: Psychological Science and Covid-19, What We Know and What We Can Do. Association for Psychological Science.
Date: March 23, 2020
Our threat monitoring and detection systems are evolutionarily very old and while virus epidemics are also very old the social, economic personal circumstances through which we are experiencing the current pandemic are both old and quite new (and quite personal). As such, Psychology, which as a scientific discipline is itself quite new has some very useful things to offer as we try to come to coping terms with THIS pandemic NOW. Take advantage of what is available, it WILL help.
Questions for Discussion:
- How does the sentiment that “we are all in this together” play out psychologically?
- Media IS a source of potentially useful information in times like this but what are some the other issues it raises for us psychologically?
- What sorts of things can we do to better manage and deal with our stress and anxiety these days?
References (Read Further):
World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak, 18 March 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCoV/MentalHealth/2020.1). World Health Organization. Link
Horesh, D., & Brown, A. D. (2020). Traumatic stress in the age of COVID-19: A call to close critical gaps and adapt to new realities. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(4), 331. Link
Garfin, D. R., Silver, R. C., & Holman, E. A. (2020). The novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak: Amplification of public health consequences by media exposure. Health Psychology. Link
Liu, N., Zhang, F., Wei, C., Jia, Y., Shang, Z., Sun, L., … & Liu, W. (2020). Prevalence and predictors of PTSS during COVID-19 outbreak in China hardest-hit areas: Gender differences matter. Psychiatry research, 112921. Link
Rajkumar, R. P. (2020). COVID-19 and mental health: A review of the existing literature. Asian journal of psychiatry, 102066. Link