Corona PTSS: the new pandemic, coming soon near you

In a few months time the current global lockdown due to the coronavirus is going to result into a massive outbreak of burnouts and stress related disorders, says professor Doctor Elke van Hoof of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. Half of the world population could be impacted. This is going to come at another great cost, and the world needs to get ready for this next wave now.

BY JOPIE WITZAND

The groups most at risk are women, families with young children, healthworkers, the elderly and those who have a very limited social network. They could suffer from stress, anxiety, anger, irritability, emotional, insomnia, exhaustion, depression, alcohol abuse, self-medication, long-lasting “avoidance” behaviour and post-traumatic stress symptoms. The list is endless and it is going to involve a lot of people. 

Professor Dr Elke Van Hoof is a professor in health psychology and primary care psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and serves as an expert for the Superior Health Council of Belgium and the European Parliament.

She bases her predictions on studies and examples of how people respond to extreme situations, ranging from absenteeism in military units after deployment in risk areas, companies that were close to Ground Zero in 9/11 and medical professionals in regions with outbreaks of Ebola, SARS and MERS. 

Elke van Hoof says that in China these expected mental health effects are already being reported in the first research papers about the lockdown, and states that the world needs to prepare for this Corona PTSD pandemic.

Listen to the full interview here: