Description: We (well, the media) have largely been discussing the Covid-19 pandemic is terms of physical demands and consequences and while that makes sense given that its origins are viral (literally not virtually). One of the consequences of this focus is that, even in countries with socialized medicine programs (e.g., Canada), when we mobilize the health system to confront a threat like Covid-19 we do NOT mobilize our psychological health systems as automatically or an intensively. Of the three components that make up the BioPsychoSocial model of health and wellness we tend to fire up the Bio part and draw in the Social part as needed to make the Bio (containment) part work while the Psycho part lags behind and is not provided the same cross-system push. When discussing Psychological Disorders in class, I talk from various angles about the relationship between stress and disorders and about the comorbidity of disorders, stress and anxiety. As well, when talking about stress I talk about how the rates of clinical depression invariably jump up in areas hit by natural disasters in the 6 months following the disasters. So, think about how our current Covid-19 BioPsychoSocial experience could be playing out on the Psychological side. What might the issues and impacts of Covid-19 be in relation to disorders in general and to depression in particular? Once you have your thoughts in order have a read through the article linked below by a Clinical Psychologist who has struggled with depression himself in life.
Source: When the Pandemic Leaves Us Alone, Anxious and Depressed, Andrew Solomon, The New York Times.
Date: April 9, 2020
The four responses to the coronavirus crisis and the required social isolation are particularly important. Stride on, seek some Psychological first aide, be catapulted into disorder or, be pushed further into disorder or “double depression.” We need to include in our consideration of how to respond and how to help others and ourselves cope by recognizing the need to “include depression generated by fear, loneliness, and grief” in our thoughts and action plans.
Questions for Discussion:
- How are stress and anxiety related to disorders such as depression?
- How might people be seen to be reacting, Psychologically, to the coronavirus reality?
- What are some ways in which we might add more into the Psycho part of a BioPsychoSocial response to Covid-19?
References (Read Further):
Achenbach, Joel (2020, April 2) Coronavirus is harming the mental health of tens of millions of people in U.S., new poll finds. The Washington Post Link
Sprang, G., & Silman, M. (2013). Posttraumatic stress disorder in parents and youth after health-related disasters. Disaster medicine and public health preparedness, 7(1), 105-110. Link
Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on psychological science, 10(2), 227-237. Link