Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 601--603

Let's build the psychological immunity to fight against COVID-19


Tanu Gupta, Naresh Nebhinani 
 Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Naresh Nebhinani
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
India




How to cite this article:
Gupta T, Nebhinani N. Let's build the psychological immunity to fight against COVID-19.Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:601-603


How to cite this URL:
Gupta T, Nebhinani N. Let's build the psychological immunity to fight against COVID-19. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 27 ];62:601-603
Available from: https://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2020/62/5/601/297760


Full Text



Sir,

Globally, COVID-19 has emerged as pandemic and it has impacted number of people and families worldwide. The term coronavirus has taken toll on physical and mental health of people all around. As we have already fought many viral infection, flu, or many other diseases in our life, then why corona has come as potent enemy to disturb our life and livelihood? The reason is that the COVID-19 is a physical disease with high spreading power due to which many restrictions in the form of social distancing and lockdown have been advised.[1],[2] The fear of getting infection, quarantine, isolation, death, losing our loved ones, and lockdown restrictions are the major contributors for evolving psychological problems. So far, many guidelines have been issued to assure the physical hygiene and to build the physical immunity against this virus.

Considering the current need and collateral damage caused by COVID-19, the role of building psychological immunity of people around is crucial. Psychological immunity is a term coined by Oláh in 2000.[3] Psychological immunity is defined as “a system of adaptive resources and positive personality characteristics that acts as psychological antibodies at the time of stress.” It includes various positive characteristics such as positive thinking, sense of coherence, sense of control, emotional regulation, goal orientation, positive self-efficacy, and problem-solving skills. As physical immunity protects individuals from different viral infections of the environment, similarly, psychological immunity also acts as a buffer against environmental stressors, day-to-day hassles, and negative emotions.[4]

 Role of Psychological Immune System during Covid-19



COVID-19 has brought a number of psychosocial concerns for patients with COVID-19, families, healthcare workers, and other corona warriors. Psychological immune system can help individuals in handling their fears, anxieties, and environmental hassles as described in [Table 1].[5],[6],[7]{Table 1}

Contrary to that, what we are seeing today is the adoption of maladaptive coping behaviors during COVID-19. As we witness, lots of psychological turmoil, boredom, and frustration are building up in people during COVID-19 that have led to an increase use of maladaptive coping in the form of problematic internet use or other forms of behavioral addiction, abuse of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc. We also witness suicide out of fear and anxiety in several patients with COVID-19 or who are presumptive for COVID-19, which clearly reflect toward compromised functioning of the psychological immune system. Suicidal behavior is considered as failure of psychological immune system.[7]

 How to Build Psychological Immunity during Covid-19?



Building psychological immunity is a process that can be targeted through various deliberate and purposeful interventions. However, considering the current crisis situation of COVID-19, few simple tips can help an individual to remain resilient from COVID-19. First of all, the mindful acceptance of a crisis situation (COVID-19) is the first step toward change. Acceptance itself is so powerful that it can bring the imperative discipline require to follow the protocol of COVID-19 without any difficulty. Enhancing the connectedness within the family relations can create a ground for good social support as protective factors for future mental health problems. Adaptive coping appraisal and problem-solving skills can be inculcated through learning the basic steps of problem-solving. Nurturing hope/optimism about overcoming the crisis can also help in building psychological antibodies against COVID-19. Coronavirus and associated restrictions have raised many concerns in each individual's life at different levels, but people find it difficult to communicate or convey their need for help. Hence, engaging in altruism in the form of positive attitude toward help seeking and giving can also enhance the psychological immunity. Good literature reading has also found to be effective in enhancing the psychological immunity.[8] With all this, we hope that people may come up with strong psychological immune system and positive mental health that help them to competently deal with the current COVID-19 crisis and future repercussions.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Advisory on Social Distancing Measure in View of Spread of COVID-19 Disease; 2020. Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/SocialDistancing AdvisorybyMOHFW.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].
2BBC. India's 1.3bn Population Told to Stay at Home; 2020. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-52024239. [Last accessed on 2020 May 25].
3Oláh A. Psychological Immunity: A New Concept of Coping and Resilience. Coping and Resilience International Conference, Dubrovnik–Cavtat, Croatia, 2009. Available from: https://www.psychevisual.com/Video_by_Attila_Olah_on_Psychological_immunity_A_new_concept_of_coping_and_resilience.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].
4Dubey A, Shahi D. Psychological immunity and coping strategies: A study on medical professionals. Indian J Soc Sci Res 2011;8:36-47.
5Bavel JJ, Baicker K, Boggio PS, Capraro V, Cichocka A, Cikara M, et al. Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response. Nat Hum Behav 2020;4:460-71.
6Heidari M, Shahbazi S. Effect of training problem-solving skill on decision-making and critical thinking of personnel at medical emergencies. Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci 2016;6:182-7.
7Rachman SJ. Invited essay: Cognitive influences on the psychological immune system. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry 2016;53:2-8.
8Bhardwaj AK, Agrawal G. Concept and applications of psycho-immunity (defense against mental illness): Importance in mental health scenario. Online J Multidisciplinary Res 2015;1:6-15.