Exactly six months ago, our lives changed radically, because on March 14, the first of a whole series of corona measures started. How big was the mental impact and what about the future now that the darkest period of the year is just around the corner? We asked psychiatrist Dirk De Wachter and psychologist Inez Germeys. “I think this situation is going to have a significant psychological effect in the long term rather than in the short term,” says Germeys.
Saturday March 14 was a turning point. The catering industry had to close, classes at school were suspended and shops had to close on weekends. On that day, the seriousness of the corona virus got through to many people. Social contact was suddenly out of the question. Not self-evident for a social animal like humans.
“In retrospect, the effect on psychological well-being is less than we first thought”, says psychologist and professor Inez Germeys (KU Leuven) to VRT NWS. “For example, there have been no more admissions to psychiatric hospitals. The measures have certainly had an effect, but it appears to be less dramatic than previously feared.”
The massive solidarity in the beginning, just think of coming out together at 8 pm to clap for care (see photo below), has certainly contributed to this, according to her. “People got the feeling that we all had to go through it together. That common goal has created a kind of resilience in people,” says the psychologist. “That unity is gone now.”