Mental health in times of Covid-19

Maria Perez. 22 years old. Spanish, living in Denmark for an academic exchange since February of 2020. Isolated in a 30-square meter room for two months. Classes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., even on weekends. No family around. No interaction with the locals. Insomnia. Loss of appetite. Three panic attacks in the last week. She needed an end and she found it. She left one of the most secure countries in Europe for the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic. Her choice, considered crazy by many, turned out to be a bold, but calculated, decision to protect her mental health.

People did not go up the hill

My mother told me a story dozens of times before I went to bed. In the story, there was a shepherd, who once went up the hill, to warn that a wolf was coming. When the villagers came up, they saw that it was all the shepherd’s joke. The shepherd repeated the joke four more times, until the wolf really came. On that occasion, the villagers were already fed up, and that time they did not come to help the sheppard. Now, I realize this child story could be translated to the current situation. I changed the village for society, the shepherd for the traditional media, and the wolf for the Coronavirus, and the result is both surprising and effective. Something as simple as a child story could be used to understand how the media have worked in health issues.

Life during the pandemic: Panic shopping

It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. Through the entire process of buying my essential products while waiting in line to pay, I observed people’s behavior and reactions to the entire situation. It all started with us sitting around the table in the common room of our dorm. My Danish mates were listening intensely to what the Danish Prime Minister had to say at a press conference late in the evening. With my Belgian and Romanian friend sitting next to me, we could only read their expressions and try to catch some familiar words from the Prime Ministers speech. Thirty minutes into the conference,one of my Danish friends broke the silence “so its official, Denmark’s schools and universities are closing as of tomorrow”, he said with a serious tone.