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Creative solutions Mental health Research The Co-Well project

The open end of the pandemic is more than we can mentally bear -but we can find new ways of coping


As previously highlighted on this site, apart from the medical crisis, Corona also seems to be having an impact on mental health.

Now with the second wave, there is even an increased risk of a mental crisis, according to Damiaan Denys in an article in the Dutch NRC newspaper. Because without a vaccine there is no real perspective for a rewarding ending.

Also according to Noble prize winner Paul Krugman and the NY Times article he already wrote in June 2020, we do no longer have the patience and the will to sit through the pandemic and not give into the seduction to return to the normal live while the virus is going around.

Waiting for too long without perspective makes unhappy, which seems to be happening in countries such as the USA and The Netherlands now.

What could help us through the mental crisis, is to be flexible and adjust the idea of what we consider as a ‘reward’. Denys: “Forget the idea thinking we will ever fly, snack and party as in the old normal. But you can find a reward in choosing another perspective and change your behavior: less chasing for individual happiness, become more societal focused, maintain your contacts, but more as in intensive friendships in smaller circles, and turn to being more in nature. You can already see it happening now: we are beginning to accept the idea of a social community. Because we have to.”

Co-Well also aims to contribute through finding new ways of understanding and mental coping. One example are students from the ICT course ‘Web Application and Enterprise’ course from the Amsterdam University of Applied Science. They are working on web applications for different groups of people (elderly people, with visual impairments, dementia, and youngsters, youngsters on the autistic spectrum, etc) enabling personalized and social sharing of happiness-enhancing activities during Corona-time.