The Covid-19 pandemic needs to be understood as a psychological problem as much as it is a medical one. We are trying to protect ourselves against the virus, but how are we protecting ourselves against the psychological distress it wreaks?
The invocation of the Disaster Management Act (2002) has enabled the South African government to ramp up its efforts in the fight against the current pandemic in which we find ourselves. According to the Johns Hopkins University, Covid-19 has thus far claimed more than 70,000 lives and has infected more than one million people around the world.
While governments all over the world are ferociously fighting against this virus, South Africa’s efforts to lock down the country, accelerate testing and treatment in order to contain Covid-19 have been highly commended, despite some challenges that remain. Nevertheless, it is disappointing, but not at all surprising that in its approach, South Africa has not integrated emergency psychological crisis interventions to reduce the negative psychosocial impact of the pandemic on public mental health in the country.
What then does this pandemic reveal about the state of mental affairs in SA and what could be the short-term and long-term considerations that the government could take?
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