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Description: As of today (March 15, 2020) the COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and there is a LOT going on at the international, national, community and individual level. The university where I am currently teaching a couple of courses has decided to finish this term with all our courses converted from face-to-face to online delivery models. We are all trying to figure out what this all means. Psychology can help us to do that in a calm, rational, and effective manner. As such my posts this week will all focus in one way or another on our current global (and individual) situation(s).  The Fact Sheet, linked below, provides basic information and links for additional information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic but it also provides something of a Psychological context for that information. While we are being inundated with information about our current situations the novelty of the situation and its potentially broad-reaching implications can leave us wondering what sense to make of it all, and uncertain as to how we should think, feel and act. Psychology can help with questions like “do I really touch my face that much?” to, “am I under or over responding to the COVID-19 Threat and how can I tell the difference?” Read through the article linked below and perhaps one or two of the articles in the further reading section below and perhaps at parts 2 and 3 of this week’s posts on this site for a bit of Psychological perspective.

Source: “Psychology Works” Fact Sheet: Coping with and Preventing Covid-19, Canadian Psychological Association.

Date: March 13, 2020

Photo Credit:  CDC, Canadian Press

Article Link:

While a lot of the information in the fact sheet linked above could have been found elsewhere there are parts of the sheet, the Psychological parts, that could be quite helpful. In particular, the section on how to tell if you should seek professional help for COVID-19 related stress or anxiety could be very useful. One last Psychological word, from my perspective, experience as a Developmental Psychologist and from research in Developmental Psychology regarding talking with children about COVID-19. It is important for parents to listen very carefully to the questions that their children are asking so that they can answer those questions directly and specifically. Young children may be worried about getting sick (less likely than adults), seeing friends (restrictions on social contact keep everyone safer and will be temporary), or about their grandparents given what is being said about vulnerable populations (perhaps have children talk to grandparents on the phone to be reassured that they are well and safe). We adults need to remember that the broader impacts of COVID-19 on things like the stock market, the economy, work life and the health care system are likely not things children are worried about but they can and will notice our anxiety about such things and we can help them with that by helping ourselves. Psychology and science can help.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are you thinking about the current situation involving the COVID-19 virus?
  2. Are you strategically adjusting your search or and reflections upon information related to the virus in way that help you clarify your feelings and plan your actions?
  3. In what ways can Psychology help people understand and cope as effectively as possible with their current situations in relation to COVID-19?

References (Read Further):

Lopez-Goni, Ignacio (March 6, 2020) Coronavirus: Ten reasons why you ought not to panic, The Conversation.

Racine, Nicole and Madigan, Sheri (March 14, 2020) How to talk to your kids about COVID-19, The Conversation,

Mohammed, Manal (March 13, 2020) Coronavirus: not all hand sanitizers work against it – here’s what you should use, The Conversation,

Psychology of COVID-19 Part 1: Some Psychological Facts

Psychology of COVID-19 Part 2: Coming to Terms with Anxiety

Psychology of COVID 19 Part 3: Statistical Overfocus

The Psychology of Risk Assessment: The Case of the Coronavirus