Let’s be real. Most of the population of the world is suffering from the psychological consequences of dealing with the huge phenomenon of the covid pandemic. It is conceivable that the pandemic may last for several more years.
See your primary care doctor or a mental health specialist for help with the psychological consequences of living through such a stressing time. Psychotherapy, counseling, peer support groups, and/or psychiatric medications may be able to help you go back to being you.
2020 and 2021 contained huge shocks for everyone on the globe. We are all feeling confused, apprehensive, and out of control. Try to use the available resources in your community.
For emergencies virtually every community has 24/7 mental health and suicide prevention hotlines. Any hospital emergency room can also provide immediate help.
For the last 15 years of my professional career, I coordinated consensus processes to build new local health and social services policies.
It was the best work and most fun I experienced during my career.
I was lucky to work with more than two thousand participants (in aggregate) helping to develop services for drug abuse, mental illness, social isolation, education, child care, medical services, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and more.
Here is a diagram of what I believe to be key parts of developing consensus public policy.
Click on the mind map to expand it.
Had various government agencies used a model like mine, they would have been able to get a higher percentage of the population agree to be vaccinated.
Get vaccinated. Your risk of getting Covid-19 is going way up if you are unvaccinated. If you do not have access to vaccine, wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, stay out of crowds, and wash your hands.
Variant Delta (D or the Indian variant also well-established in the UK) is the most severe of all variants to date, and is becoming the dominant version of Covid-19 in many countries. Many public health professionals predict that within a few months Variant Delta will the dominant strain globally and in the USA, much as it is currently dominant in India and the UK..
If you want to see the most current information about Covid-19, Variant Delta, search with Google or an alternative search engine. As I write this on June 19, 2021, there is a huge amount of news stories available. CNN has had good coverage on Variant Delta.
Current information is that Variant Delta is the most problematic and deadly Covid-19 variant yet.
The World Health Organization is supposed to be collecting donations of money and covid-19 vaccine doses from large-rich countries and distributing them to small-poor countries.
Is the World Health Organization or WHO or ??? doing a good job?
C+ at best.
But they are good at nagging and blaming large-rich countries that are donating medical supplies and vaccine doses and healthcare supplies and food and water and $s.
WHO should be doing a much better job than it has during the past 18 months. They need to stop whining and writing academic papers and get their staff doing the heavy lifting in getting the vaccine doses they are receiving out to where they are needed most.
During the past covid “pandemic” year (March 2020 through May 2021), have you woken up every day feeling “lost” or “confused” or “depressed” or “anxious” or ” numb” or like something is “wrong” or “inescapable” or with any of hundreds of more negative feelings?
It is my guess that virtually no one has escaped these feelings during the global fight against covid-19 A lot of the feelings originating from situations occurring during the covid pandemic are visible to everyone. News outlets inform us daily that cases of suicide and violence and most major mental illness and drug abuse and murders are at very high levels compared to historical norms. We can often recognize these major interruptions to “normal life” and hopefully many professional services to combat major stress-induced illnesses and condition can be offered.
We probably — as a global community — have a “fighting chance” of protecting and or preventing the outbreaks of mental illness and stress breakdowns among many because we recognize these conditions as medical ones that are then referred to qualified physicians or social workers or psychologists to handle.
More insidious and of great longevity are issues like continuous rage or feeling numb and defenseless or apathetic or unable too motivate yourself too walk out the door and deal with issues in the larger real world that you could avoid when hiding inside from covid. Your friends and family might see many of these huge, chronic problems are not rising to a level of concern to be considered a medical condition. Most physicians will also have a lot of difficulty in deciding whether it is appropriate to treat these “reconnection” as medical conditions and with pharmaceuticals they will need to repurpose for conditions are less defined and more chronic than many of the psychiatric-psychological problems they traditionally saw.
Diagnostic categories and conditions are going to have to be significantly revised when Americans start to engage with the old reality or refuse to even try to do so.
What is the United States and all of our sister countries in the global community going to be facing? The mind map below starts to summarize what we are all going to be facing as we restart countries in a year or two when vaccines are provided to all.
XMIND is a mind map app available for all major notebook computers and all major smartphones. You can use the app with the defaults and get good results after a few hours and very good results after a day. There is a free trial period.
I consider this app to be the #1 choice for beginners and intermediate users. Most users of mind maps will find it does a great job and have no need to move up to the two more advanced apps available for expert users.
I also find that XMIND by default produces mind maps that communicate very well with other mind map users.
You can click on the mind map if you want to expand it.
Let me start off saying that there is no official COVID Pandemic Syndrome in either the psychological or psychiatric literature that I and google are aware of.
There is a paper on “COVID Stress Syndrome” that I found while doing a google search after I was starting to upload this post to the Internet. The closely named paper that can be accessed HERE is a different conception than mine but of equal interest and equal importance as my comments.
The general approach I am taking is that the COVID pandemic has elicited a number of psychological reactions (different in inclusion, importance, and intensity for specific individuals) for most.
In other words, my approach is to point out that exposure to the pandemic over a period of a year or more has resulted in many people experiencing the psychological states, symptoms, and conditions shown in the mind map below. From my observation, many of us have and continue to experience these states probably because of extreme exposure over a long period of time to the conditions of the pandemic. As we know from decades of competent scientific research by tens of thousands of well-trained and smart mental health professionals on grief, anxiety, depression, anger and the other states in my diagram, these problems for most will not go away without some types of psychological intervention for most people. Depending upon the psychological problems an individual is experiencing, proven pharmaceutical-medical and/or behavioral-cognitive interventions are available they will need customized mental health services.
It would be very naive to assume that we need to vaccinate the entire world to finally control the spread of the novel coronavirus without also providing psychological-psychiatric services to those who do and will need them. If such services are not offered at minimal (or no) cost globally, hundreds of millions of people may suffer with depression and anxiety and alcoholism and drug abuse and domestic violence and deeply felt anger for the rest of their lives.
Let’s not forget about the COVID Pandemic Syndrome that is happening to most of us to varying degrees. If we don’t solve the psychological problems caused by the pandemic now, many will not fully recover. Mental health and medical interventions should be available to everyone living through the pandemic or its sequelae if we want the global population to recover and not expose the unborn babies and children of our future to these horrible psychological conditions.
Click on the diagram to expand it.
In a follow-up post I am going to provide links to a number of relevant and technically sound studies and speculations on the psychological consequences of the coronavirus.
Starting on June 1, US schools should be allocated money from the federal government to provide remedial in-class and online summer classes and counseling services at their school or online. The funds allocated should be for student educational services and not for general school overhead such as building improvement or teachers and resources that are not integrally to these special programs. Services should be provided for 24 months from the time that a school district starts special programs.
Our most important resource — our future generations — should receive full educations and not be penalized because a natural disaster occured during their school years.
Students from communities that have traditionally been underserved either intentionally or inadvertently should have priority to participate in the earliest programs. As possible the same programs should be rolled out to all public school districts.
We are incredibly fortunate to have Tony Fauci in charge of scientific efforts to control and eradicate and inform the public about covid-19.
Clip on the image to increase their size
One of the reasons that the USA has had 568,560 people die from covid-19 is that STOOPID politicians posture in front of the television cameras and say incredibly dumb things and frequently misquote data. Of they pick the “experts” they want to listen to by their politics rather than their expertise.. In a democracy like our, you have to let every idiot elected official say what they want to. BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO BELIEVE IDIOT POLITICIANS. DO BELIEVE CREDIBLE AND HIGHLY SKILLED HEALTH SCIENTISTS LIKE DR. FAUCI.
For entertainment value and to see what Dr. Fauci and other reputable scientists have to deal with from about half of the US Congress and about 40 percent of the US population, all you need to is watch the news or look on YouTube.
As we recover from the COVID pandemic, it is important to recognize that much of the world population has been under severe stress from the pressure of dealing with deaths of loved ones, uncertainty, financial pressures, anxiety, depression, and fear.
The symptoms of psychological crisis in the past 15 months are not going away without professional help.
The following show some of the ways that help needs to be offered. If even 10% of the global population has been affected by psychological stress, we have huge issues to address.
For the first 9 months of the covid pandemic, I used to consult one of the covid information websites about cumulative deaths at least hourly. I looked at about a half dozen of these sites to see how their models of future deaths diverged from one another. I understand how most of the math models work, whether the data used is of “excellent” or “bad” quality, and how to present the results so that they were accessible to most people.
Now I do the statistics exercises every couple of days. The numbers sometimes numb you so that you loose sight of the fact that every person counted is a soul who had a family and friends, worked often for the common good, loved many of the people they knew, had a great laugh in happy times, and in most cases went out of their way to help others out.
We need to honor and remember all of those who died from covid. Most were good people who were quite simply the victims of a virus that our scientists learned to control and our politicians ignored. Probably at least two-thirds of those who died would not have done so if our politicians had done their jobs and protected their constituents in ways public health and medical scientists recommended.
Rest In Peace. May those of us who survived covid always remember to honor those who did not by applying the knowledge we have gained about how to manage a pandemic in the future.
A comprehensive continuum of care is needed to provide services needed for many, if not all, infected by COVID-19 and their families. Not everyone will need all of the services shown in the mind map but many will require a large subset of these in addition to medical care. Case managers help link patients to both the medical and the social care they need to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a loss of income, stress on their families, child care for families with children, and many other services provided by most counties in the United State or through non-profit integrated care facilities, or charitable groups with many communications. The case manager will also follow up with all of the agencies helping the client (patient) to ensure they all have the same information and are communicating with one another in an integrated way.
The pattern of the overall service needs of individuals who become (or became) infected with COVID-19 is very complicated. This group probably requires continued medical monitoring for continuing or new symptoms of COVID, psychological counseling, they may need to be in a support group to help them deal with the trauma of treatment or having friends and family die, they may need help in dealing with basic needs (food, shelter-rent, childcare, and many other things). They might also require help getting a job or requesting unemployment or child care or healthcare payments from government and (former) employer services.
What would case management system look like when applied to helping those needing COVID-related help. Take a look at the figure above.
The next tweet deals with setting up an appropriate service system.
March 18, 2021. I published the blog entry below exactly one year ago (March 18, 2020) as the pandemic was just starting to be acknowledged in the USA. There are days I hate to be correct in my predictions. This is one.
It is very clear that in the United States, some of the money in the large Biden Covid Recovery bill must be spent trying to cut the pandemic-driven and all other domestic violence that has spread without check over the past year. The same psychological conditions that drive domestic violence also drive the racial hate that is out of control in the USA and the escalating hatred between Trumpists and other Americans. Just as the coronavirus is an escalating problem so are pandemics of domestic violence, psychological distress and disease, and hate. If the elected national officials of all political parties can rein in their dogmatism and hatred and promotion of social unrest, that could also help.
Isolating someone in their home with another person is a possible recipe for domestic violence. Keep them there for weeks-months, add in the use of alcohol and/or psychoactive drugs and the likelihood of domestic violence increases. Add in a possible gun and the violence can easily become fatal.
And during the coronavirus pandemic, police intervention will be less available to end an out-of-control episode.
There appears to be no real alternative to sheltering large numbers of the public in place during a viral pandemic. The long and intense frustrations of being sheltered in place do not mix well with alcohol, psychoactive drugs, and guns. During a viral pandemic, you can die from more things than just the virus.
Trump is preparing for his second impeachment trial and still denying Biden is president. Biden is doing an excellent job fixing the huge mistakes Trump’s policies and incompetencies caused.
Help has started. Biden has had to spend the first weeks of his presidency fixing up all of the major problems Trump’s political views and incompetence created for his successor. Within the next two weeks a funding bill for Biden’s new policies and fixes to Trump’s disastrous mistakes will be passed.
Know that the immediate changes President Biden is making to the American response to covid-19 is stronger and much more scientifically correct than the 2020 response of President Trump. You and your surviving fellow citizens have a much better chance to avoid coronavirus and if you contract it, to survive the disease. You are finally hearing the truth from your president (Biden) instead of the lies from his predecessor.
Wear a mask. Socially distance. Don’t touch your face. Wash your hands.
Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible.
COVID is not a political issue. It is a question of how many die. Do what it takes to save your friends, family, all others, and yourself.
Help is on the way. Biden came to the capitol and the first thing he did was to hold our first national memorial service for our 400,000 fallen friends, family members, acquaintances, and fellow Americans.
Rest in peace knowing that the immediate changes President Biden is making to the American response to covid-19 is stronger and much more scientifically correct than the 2020 response of President Trump. Your surviving fellow citizens have a much better chance to avoid coronavirus,