Sunday Independent: ‘The problem with long-term lockdowns is people start ignoring them’
Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Miriam Kennedy speaks with the Irish Independent about why she is ‘not remotely surprised people are breaking restrictions’.
Read highlights featuring Dr Kennedy below and read the article in full on the Irish Independent website here.
Given emerging data on the increase of visits to households since the beginning of February, Dr Miriam Kennedy, a Consultant Psychiatrist in General Adult Psychiatry and Psychiatry of Later Life, notes that during this third lockdown it is understandable that peoples behaviour is not as rigid as it has been previously, explaining:
“We are not a nation that responds well to being isolated. We like to see one another in person, to hug, and be sociable. People are more tired of it all during this lockdown. When we had the first lockdown, it was like a prolonged episode of stress. We didn’t like it, but we gritted our teeth and got through it, knowing it would be six weeks…”
“Then, in the second lockdown, we began to think, ‘oh God’, but we knew at least we were getting Christmas. Now, we are in the third lockdown. It’s going on much longer, and we are beginning to think: ‘will it ever end?'”
On resilience and coping emotionally with what is now the third lockdown in Ireland, Dr Kennedy says:
“Our survival levels are being tested in a way we have never experienced before, ever. We’re living in a world with increasing fear and threat. Emotionally, our bodies are responding to it. We really have to help people and be aware of our own mental health right now. Because this affects all of us.”
Additionally, people ar ereally starting to feel the negatove impacts of social isolation and the reliance on digital means of communication. where previously people would have met colleagues or clients face to face throughout the day, a large proportion are now carrying out all of their work, as well as socialising, via screens:
“People are Zoomed out of it. It can be intense. Zooming is an issue and staring at screens too long rather than [having] human interactions can be bad for your mental health as well as eyesight.”
It is important now to acknowledge that people are feeling hugely the negative effects of repeated lockdowns on their psychological and emotional wellbeing. In building coping strategies, we need to centre our thinking around the positive aspects of our lives, avoid too much news or negative stories and to focus on the things you can control.