Just as many of us need to remember our bag / wallet, keys and cellphone when we leave the house, we now need to make sure that we have adequate masks for ourselves and our loved ones when we leave the house.
The announcement this afternoon that Auckland’s Alert Level will continue at 3, and the rest of New Zealand at Level 2 offers welcome certainty and stability for the short-term, which will help to alleviate some anxiety that people were feeling in the run up to the press conference in this whirlwind week.
If we take a moment to think through the drivers of behaviour like this, then we can see that yes, anxiety might be one reason why people go to the shops, but it’s one of many. And also, that this anxiety might be fuelled in several different ways.
We have a limited window to get this right again. And it will probably happen again after this too. This will be the pattern. Be prepared. Take effective action. Do it now. React responsibly and swiftly, with small actions that added up can save us from suffering even bigger consequences.
When thinking about another outbreak of COVID-19 in New Zealand spread through community transmission of the coronavirus, it’s more a question of when rather than if. And at this point, we would do well to remember that aside from better technologies to detect the virus, the only tools we have are all based on behaviour.
If you work in psychologically-informed ways, in comms, strategic comms, health, welfare, HR, emergency management, central Government or local Government, then I recommend you watch this.
I’m doing a webinar next Wednesday 6th May at 12pm NZT. I’ll outline the main points from the Framework for Psychosocial Support published by the Ministry of Health in 2016, and how this translates to a new New Zealand Government Psychosocial Response Framework for COVID-19 – drawing upon what I’ve learned from the past 14 years working in Disaster Mental Health and Emergency Management and my experiences as a psychologist and policy maker.
If you’re walking around, stopping to chat with neighbours or going for picnics, please stop. Your brain is a machine for ‘jumping to conclusions’ and has hijacked your decision making. Here’s how to take back control.
When we talk about disasters or a crisis, we often focus on the disruption and stress caused by the index event or occurrence itself. In the case of Covid19, it’s the health impact of the virus on people and communities. However, secondary stressors are circumstances, events or policies that are indirectly related to or are a consequence of an emergency event, which result in emotional strain among affected individuals and make it more difficult for them to return to what is perceived as normality. Examples of secondary stressors include ongoing financial strain, conflict in families and couple relationships, job insecurity and/or loss.
In this case, policies designed to contain the outbreak may have larger social and psychological consequences than the virus itself – at least at this stage …