Covid-19 and mental health

We spend millions every year in this country on physical health like going to the gym and buying fitness equipment, but for some reason putting that kind of effort towards mental health is still stigmatized. That stigmatization can be traced back to our cultural influences on mental health and religious upbringing which have often equated mental illness with demons and punishment ( This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense since our mental health, unlike our physical health affects everyone around us, at home, work and school. And, it doesn’t go away with death either, but gets carried down for generations. It’s a real problem. We need to be open-minded and have a rational conversation about mental health. Not talking about it makes us part of the problem.

I’m troubled and frankly distraught because mental health is rarely mentioned in this corona pandemic we are living. In an article I wrote in April 2020 I cautioned that: “ If we don’t invest in [..] mental health, we’ll soon realize that many social issues we’re dealing with will linger long after this pandemic is over”. Already social workers are sounding the alarm and official figures indicate that the despair is growing (prostitution, alcoholism, foreclosures, personal debts, suicides, unemployment and emigration).

COVID-19 will probably be gone in a few years, but the mental health issues it has created and/or exacerbated will live on provided we drop the cultural stigmatization and religious voodoo surrounding this issue and address it like adults.

Alex David Rosaria (53) is a freelance consultant active in Asia & Pacific. He is a former Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and UN Implementation Officer in Africa and Central America. He’s from Curaçao and has a MBA from the University of Iowa. (USA).

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