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The Great Mental Health Disconnect

By Hala Abu-Maizer

As part of any emergency response especially a pandemic response, Pfefferbaum and North (2020) emphasise the need for addressing the pressing the mental health challenges that will arise as a result of the pandemic. Issues include but not limited to isolation, stigma, confusion, distress, substance abuse, home confinement and loss of main streams of incomes in people that get the disease and others that do not. Their findings state that such emotional distress is pervasive in the impacted population, which in this case is most the earth’s population in this time.

With certain groups of people being considered at a higher risk of contracting the virus, behaviour adaptability is required and may add stress to them and those around them in safeguarding their wellbeing. Health care workers are particularly susceptible to being infected, as well as emotional distress, burnout and moral injury due to the unethical tone that scarcity of supplies and capacity brings about in an emergency. Greenberg et al. (2020) define moral injury as the psychological distress brought on by certain actions, or lack thereof, that are in direct violation of someone’s ethics or moral code. The ethically questionable resource allocation dilemmas due to scarcity, the continuous risking of cases, and the decreased capacities at hospitals leading to prioritisation of patients under certain criteria are all prove to be strongly emotionally and mentally taxing on healthcare providers.



  • Greenberg,N, Docherty,M, Gnanapragasam,S, and Wessely, S. (2020). Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic. The BMJ. Available at:

  • Pfefferbaum, B and North, C. (2020). Mental Health and the Covid-19 Pandemic. Available:


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