By Danielle Render Turmaud, Psychology Today, March 14, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, we are amidst a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Where the focus may often be on recognizing COVID-19 symptoms during this time, it is also important to recognize that this time of crisis and trauma may lead to mental health challenges for many. What are the mental health consequences of a pandemic and how do we cope when there is much that is out of our control?
First, it is important to acknowledge that a pandemic is considered a crisis, and in turn can be traumatizing. Both for those who are directly exposed (e.g. those who become ill, have loved ones who become ill, lose jobs, etc.) or those who are indirectly exposed to the consequences of the pandemic (e.g. those witnessing their community in chaos), the upheaval of a widespread health crisis can be traumatic. To further explain, a situation that elicits psychological trauma “violates the familiar ideas and expectations about the world of an individual or society, plunging them into a state of extreme confusion and uncertainty” (Aydin, 2017). This definition similarly describes the results of a pandemic crisis.