Psychiatry Professor Dr. Steven Taylor has written an essay, which appeared this week in The Guardian, pondering the future implications and long-term psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the possibility that life may never fully return to ‘normal.’ He writes:
“Even before the outbreak, people were already working from home, shopping online, and having food delivered, rather than going to restaurants. The outbreak may have further entrenched the direction in which society was already heading. After coronavirus has passed, we may find that life never fully returns to “normal”. Risk-averse, digitally connected people could continue retreating to the safety of home….
Still, there is some cause for optimism. The many people who volunteered to help others during the pandemic will experience renewed purpose and meaning in their lives. And those who adjusted better to self-isolation – that is, people who are open to new experiences, optimistic and emotionally stable – are more likely to fare well during and after the pandemic. Not everyone possesses these characteristics, but people can improve their resilience by learning new coping strategies, through practices like cognitive behavioural therapy (a valuable resource for this is the BounceBack programme, which is freely available online)….
The future implications of coronavirus are still uncertain. But based on what we know from previous outbreaks, we can predict that this pandemic will have profound psychological effects on the people living through it.”
Read the full essay here.