The virus is real but…
The ongoing pandemic regardless to our perception about it, is the fact. The virus is out there. That’s the fact as well. We could argue about its strengths and weakness as well as ”myths” and misinformation for hours, but that’s not the point of this post. Everybody’s entitled to have own opinion and go along with it. I don’t care.
What I care as someone who’s fully engaged and dedicated to human health, is about serious implications for our mental health. We are all affected by the pandemics. Yet, the evidence from various institutions for mental health suggest a divergence in people’s experience, depending on their social and/or economic context in society. Indeed, we are all in the same storm, but we AREN’T ALL IN THE SAME BOAT.
How do we deal with the pandemic?
Generally speaking, how people react to the pandemic are not randomly distributed. They depend and arise from people’s social and economic position in society. Logically, all those who are affected by socio-economic inequalities have been more likely to experience loneliness, panic, anxiety, hopelessness. In other words, those individuals or groups are simply not coping well with the stress. Most worryingly to me are suicidal thoughts or feelings .
We all know that the illness prompted by the virus may hit seriously people with an extremely low immune system or a chronic disease, whereby some individuals won’t even notice they were affected.
The fact is also that the pandemic has fundamentally changed our lives – in better or in worse, I don’t know. I can say how it has changed and affected my life and you know for yourself. However, evidences suggested it has changed in worst direction. It has changed our lives not only in the short and medium run but also in the longer run. For sure.
While the mortality rate of the virus is fairly high at the global level, the majority get over disease successfully. Some are experiencing ongoing, debilitating symptoms months after they’ve recovered from the acute phase of the virus. Yet, even for those that have managed to escape these challenges, there’s a sense that the world will never be the same again. On the economic front that touches upon social aspect, millions have lost their jobs and livelihoods and the story goes on.
Mental health at stake
I’m a regular recipients of the JAMA Network’s updates when it comes the conventional medicine and health related issues. One of its study entitled ”Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic’‘ clearly illustrates the toll that virus has taken on seriously people’s mental health globally. Hence, the researchers found that the virus has tripled the rate of depression across all demographic groups. Note that this rise in depression is significantly higher than what was observed after previous traumatic events like the 9/11 attacks or the Ebola outbreak at least in the USA.
As I outlined above, people with lower incomes and less financial security were 2.4 times more likely to report depression, yet another reminder of how social determinants impact health. Are we all really in the same boat?
What do you think?
In my view, we are in the same STORM, but definitely not in the same BOAT. While my ship may not be shipwrecked and I feel safe, yours can be. For you this pandemic could be a desperate crisis and facing loneliness thinking how to survive this disaster. For me, can be fun!
The thing is that we are going through a time when our needs and perceptions are totally different. You and me will emerge each on our specific way from this storm. Hence, it’s very important to see beyond what you see at the first glance. See beyond biases! See beyond the nose on your face. Think critically and do not be a judge.
Be only your own judge – in good or bad.
We are all globally undergo the fall of the Old World Order and the rise of the New One! How will it be, depends on me and You! Opt for Life. Opt for Light.
*The Journal of the American Medical Association (a peer-reviewed medical journal that publishes original research, reviews, and editorials covering all aspects of biomedicine)