Combating depression amid the pandemic
By CGTN's Rediscovering China
An Italian family on lockdown hangs a rainbow banner writing "Everything will be ok" on rail of their home in Turin, Italy, March 11, 2020. /Reuters

An Italian family on lockdown hangs a rainbow banner writing "Everything will be ok" on rail of their home in Turin, Italy, March 11, 2020. /Reuters

Mental health issues are reported to be skyrocketing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With the number of people infected globally now past the 100 million mark and more than 2.2 million deaths recorded from the coronavirus, and with severe restrictions on movement being enforced in many countries, it's a small wonder that increased levels of anxiety and depression are being widely reported. 

But it's not just the threat of a possibly fatal infection and the isolation from family and friends that are causing the problem. Job loss, reduced income and the accompanying financial worries, as well as the absence of the usual psychological release afforded by socializing, are other factors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in advice on its website, acknowledges that: "Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic." 

The mental health issues are brought into stark relief by the stories of ordinary people who have suffered loss during the pandemic.

Among them is American mother of four, Trish Phillips, whose husband Andy, a Pennsylvania sales executive, died of COVID-19 at the age of 53. "I kind of always leaned on him. He was kind of our rock. It's just a different future for me," she told CBS' 60 Minutes on February 1.

Another mother facing an uncertain future, interviewed in the same show, is Jamie Drezek who, in June, lost her 49-year-old husband, Craig, a college administrator in Connecticut.

Her despair was clear when she said, "We don't have the center of our universe anymore. We wanted to grow old with the grandkids and we had plans. And those are all gone."

Yet, as human history has repeatedly shown us, out of great tragedy, something positive can emerge. 

An example of this is provided by Caden Drezek, the only son in the family, who shines as an example of great courage in the face of devastating adversity.

He told Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes what his father's last words to him were: "'As of right now, you're the man in the house. And you've gotta, like, take over. And take all my responsibilities.'"

Caden's response, showing remarkable maturity for a 15-year-old, was: "It's still a lot of pressure, but I feel like it's kind of my job to do."

No doubt, similar expressions of resolve have been repeated millions of times around the globe in the course of the past year. The human spirit has a remarkable power to recover from the most devastating blows and to remain positive in the face of the most powerful adversity. 

A symbol of this resilience is the rainbow, which has been displayed everywhere from ordinary homes to public buildings.

Believed to have started in Italy, the rainbow campaign has spread across the globe, with the aim of bringing hope to those experiencing difficulties with social distancing or the other effects of the coronavirus.

But for those who are struggling to cope, the advice is to seek professional medical help.

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