Social distancing and mental health
Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney
I don’t believe that social distancing will cause an epidemic of mental illness, provided that people who are practising social distancing put in place a whole lot of strategies that are going to help them. Remember, it’s actually physical distancing, not social distancing.
You’re still able to make phone calls, still able to go onto Facebook. You’re still able to have contact with one other person, outside your immediate family. You’re still able to interact with your household. There are lots of things that you can do that mean social distancing is actually not social distancing, it’s physical distancing. And that is an important distinction.
Lastly, sometimes this is an opportunity. Can you actually do things that you’ve always wanted to do if you had time on your hands or were being forced to stay in your own home? What are those? Think about those in a creative sense.
And, hopefully, what is not an easy experience for any of us, can be turned into a positive, to a degree, at least.
Last Reviewed: 16/04/2020