Coronavirus: how to maintain our mental health?

Researchers at Basel University have investigated the psychological impact of the coronavirus crisis in 78 countries. Around 10 percent of respondents stated that their levels of stress, pessimism and depression had risen significantly. According to the survey, people in the US, Italy and Turkey are worst affected. Commentators cast about for solutions.

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

In a state of paralysis

Sociologist Giuseppe De Rita explains in Corriere della Sera how lockdown is affecting the human psyche:

“My first impression is that of a population in a trance, barely even registering other people and things, preferring instead to retreat into their own little worlds. There is nothing left of the optimistic vitality of the first lockdown. In its place is a paralysing uncertainty: not only about when we might overcome the crisis, but also about the rules and constraints of everyday behavior. ... People seem to be showing no interest in hope and shared goals, focusing solely on the fear of infection, infection rates, how to fight the virus and people's willingness to be vaccinated.”

Expressen (SE) /

Robots can save lives

Lovots are on the rise in Japan. These little robots with big eyes can give hugs, gather data and protect the elderly and people with dementia in particular by reporting health problems. Expressen is all for introducing them to Europe:

“Lots of old people live at home. For some of them it's deeply worrying that they cannot just call for help if they stumble or fall ill. The current solution is a security alarm, an ugly armband with a big red button on it; a constant reminder of their own weakness and the dangers of daily life. ... The pandemic is providing more arguments for robots. The need to keep a distance will probably remain even after vaccination. And new pandemics are likely. ... In the fight for our physical health, we can make use of the help provided by robots whether or not they have souls.”

El País (ES) /

Focus closely on people again

Instead of providing a daily overdose of statistics, the coverage of the pandemic needs to focus more on everyday details, warns writer and journalist David Trueba in El País:

“If we don't recover the desire to tell people's personal stories, we will be on the path to a very irresponsible and cruel world. If we don't recognise the enormous importance of unimportant things, we could make the mistake of seeing reality from the perspective of a satellite or a drone, with complete indifference to the details, blinded by the magnitude of the chaos. ... We are are taking the wrong approach to reporting on the pandemic because we are spreading abstract and generic fear instead of finding some degree of normality to help us get used to living with it.”