A few readings and thoughts on the psychological impact of COVID-19 anxiety and the lockdown

As we’ve said before – lockdown + social distancing = social isolation. This will have long term impacts on mental health. Below are a few readings we’ve gathered looking at the long term implications of what we’re going through. As you can see, we’ve made some brief comments after the listing for each reading (italics, bold, ranged right).

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price – World Economic Forum | 9 April 2020
– With some 2.6 billion people around the world in some kind of lockdown, we are conducting arguably the largest psychological experiment ever;
– This will result in a secondary epidemic of burnouts and stress-related absenteeism in the latter half of 2020;
– Taking action now can mitigate the toxic effects of COVID-19 lockdowns.

A psychological experiment in seeing just how much shite people can take before something gives? Have a look at what’s going on in the banlieues across France where the youth are already kicking back against the repressive implementation of lockdown measures by the police.

WHO warning on lockdown mental health – euobserver | 27 March 2020
The coronavirus crisis and the restrictive measures that many countries are taking to contain the outbreak can have a negative impact on people’s mental health and well-being, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.
“Isolation, physical distancing, the closure of schools and workplaces are challenges that affect us, and it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness at this time,” the director of the European branch of the WHO, Hans Kluge, said on Thursday (26 March).

No shit Sherlock! From the organisation that’s advising on and facilitating the implementation of lockdown policies across the globe. Just take a few moments to think about this one…

Concern for Britons feeling trapped and lonely during lockdown – Guardian | 19 April 2020
People who feel trapped and lonely during the coronavirus lockdown must be swiftly identified and given the help they need, one of the experts leading the UK’s assessment of the outbreak’s psychological impact has said.

The problem is the ‘help’ that will be offered will be online. Not everyone has access to the Internet. Vulnerable people will fall through the cracks.

‘Urgent studies needed’ into mental health impact of coronavirus – Guardian | 15 April 2020
Rapid and rigorous research into the impact of Covid-19 on mental health is needed to limit the impact of the pandemic, researchers have said.
Experts say newly conducted polls and emerging studies into Covid-19 together with lessons from past outbreaks suggest that the pandemic could have profound and potentially long-term impacts on mental health.

We along with many other people have warned that the combination of the extreme state of anxiety resulting from 24/7 media coverage of the COVID-19 crisis plus the still unknown long term impact of prolonged lockdown will lead to a mental health crisis.

The lockdown may be slowly eased from May onwards to allow some sections of the economy to restart. However, as we’ve mentioned before, anything involving large gatherings may be off the agenda for some time to come. There’s a question mark over when cafes, pubs and restaurants will be able to re-open and how many of them will have survived so they can re-open. Somehow, we can’t see sporting events with large attendances happening for ages. Needless to say, demos and even bookfairs will be out of the question as they will fall under the heading of ‘large gatherings’.

What we seem to be looking at for the rest of the year will be a return (of sorts) to work but little or no chance to meet up and socialise with friends. So, we’ll be experiencing a form of social isolation for a long time to come. Sleep, get up, go to work, work, come home, get spoon-fed with whatever entertainment is piped down the tube at us, sleep – rinse and repeat. Isolated, continually fearful, atomised and easier to control than in the days when people would meet up in cafes and pubs for a natter and for some of us, a bit of plotting as well.

This isn’t conspiracy theory – this is the reality of what we have to look forward to. Merely existing in order to work rather than living a full, social life. Also, as we’ve mentioned previously, subject to increasing tagging and monitoring, ostensibly to beat the COVID-19 virus but ultimately to keep tabs on all of us and make it easier to identify and clamp down on anyone likely to dissent.

Do we let them get away with this or do we start to resist? If we want a life that’s worth living, there’s no choice but to resist…

2 comments

  1. […] it really does feel like we’re being subjected to a massive psychological experiment: A few readings and thoughts on the psychological impact of COVID-19 anxiety and the lockdown. One in which we’re simultaneously being subjected to an unprecedented level of fear-mongering […]

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