BP 502: Mental Well-being in the Time of COVID-19

  1. Introduction

During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been more and more discussion regarding mental well-being and how this is being compromised both by the pandemic itself and by the restrictions imposed by the lockdown required to contain the infection. “Mental health experts are warning that as the world pandemic drags on, the mounting combination of death, joblessness, and uncertainty is also fuelling a mental health crisis.”[i] It is difficult to find a working definition of mental well-being suitable for the particular circumstances created by COVID-19. We know that the pandemic has confronted us with a sense of our own mortality, as well as greatly aggravating the existing fault lines of inequality in our society. The theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined health as ‘the strength to be’. Bonhoeffer was saying that health is the ability to pursue our life story without insurmountable obstruction from illness.[ii] In a time of crisis we need such strength and resilience to deal with and overcome the many challenges which confront us. Many issues retard our sense of mental well-being, while other interventions can assist and encourage it. This paper explores these issues.

[i] https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/lockdown-calls-to-mental-health-and-suicide-helplines-have-more-than-doubled-20200516

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4220217/

 

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