Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Interview with CUK Psychology Professor Yang Jae-won
Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Interview with CUK Psychology Professor Yang Jae-won
  • Eo Ye-rin
  • 승인 2020.12.01 17:59
  • 댓글 1
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 It has been one year that people have lived in the world of COVID-19. But still no one has found the fundamental solution for its devastation, and people are suffering not only from the infection but also from the mental disease called Corona Blues. To learn about this condition, CUF interviewed Yang Jae-won(양재원) professor of CUK psychology about Corona Blues and what attitude should people adopt in the COVID-19 era.


▲People are feeling a type of depression called Corona Blues in the COVID-19 period


 In the COVID-19 pandemic, people feel more depressed and frustrated than happy. And this phenomenon is called the Corona Blues (코로나블루). According to psychiatry, “Corona Blues” is a newly coined term that combines "Covid-19" and "Blue," meaning depression or lethargy caused by the prolonged COVID-19 crisis. 

 From September 9 to 14, the survey site Incruit has conducted a survey of 542 adult men and women about corona blue. And it showed that 71.6 percent of them had experienced Corona Blues. In addition, according to incruit, the number of people who experienced Corona Blues in September increased by 20% when compared to April. 


 With no fundamental solution in sight for Covid-19, people around the world do not know how long this situation will last and have started wondering how we can mentally adapt to this situation. To let students know some important information for living in this era, Yang Jae-won, CUK psychology professor agreed to an interview with CUF. 



▲Pictures of Yang Jae-won professor of psychology department of CUK


Q. After the outbreak of Covid-19, a type of depression called Corona Blues has occurred among many people around the world. Please explain how it differs from other kinds of depression.

 Depression has characters such as having a condition of depression, decreased interest or pleasure. There are many other symptoms, and when people have these symptoms, they are diagnosed with depression. There are no specific types of depression. For example, the depression of a student, which is occurred by having an all F in his or her grade, and the depression caused by a COVID-19 is defined as the same type of depression. Even the reasons for depression are different, it does not change the criteria for diagnosis. 

However, to point out the difference between those two, while other depression disorders are usually experienced by personal events, Corona Blue is a phenomenon that many people experience at the same time due to a very wide and single event. Without this, there is no difference in depression itself.

Q. As the pandemic of Covid-19 is continuing, many people experienced the Corona Blues phenomenon and found that the measure of happiness was lowered during Covid-19 period. I would like to ask you whether Corona Blue occurs more frequently in people who already experienced depression and lethargy, or does it occur in everyone regardless of patients’ preexisting conditions?

 It will occur to both. The phenomenon of having a certain psychological problem occurs when an individual's vulnerability and stress events get combined. For example, a person with a high vulnerability can easily experience depression even with small amounts of stressful experiences. On the other hand, people with low vulnerabilities may not experience depression even with many stressful experiences. 

 Since COVID-19 is a worldwide problem, though there will be differences among individuals, but the stress, which people around the world experience, will be greater than before. Thus, people with high vulnerabilities will experience depression more frequently due to COVID-19 situations. And even people with low vulnerabilities will experience more depression than before they experienced COVID-19.


Q. Human beings have the hope that things will be better in the future so as not to be frustrated when they are in a difficult situation. But if things do not improve, those who endure the day with these hopes will be more frustrated and this will lead them to more extreme choices, or situations. So, I would like to ask if people should have hope as much as possible, or do they need to give up and adapt to the frustrating situation in the COVID-19 era.

 Indeed, optimism is an important factor that makes people adapt to their stressful situation. The higher the pessimism, the more difficult it is to cope with stress, the more helpless it becomes. Too much optimism, however, will lead to practically impossible actions, and paradoxically, too much optimism is likely to give people a hard time. It is because they are holding onto an unresolved problem. Thus, whether it is optimism or pessimism, ultimately, the most important thing for people in the COVID-19 era is to take the middle path.

 Also, Professor Yang requested that people look at the situation intuitively and judge what to believe, since lots of predictions and speculations about COVID-19 are rampant, by saying, “People should avoid unnecessary information about COVID-19, because it is the main cause of excessive optimism or pessimism.”


 In the future, mankind will face not only COVID-19 but also more diseases, which may create constraints on societies. In this situation, however, it will be important for people to try to restore their daily life while maintaining a proper condition of optimism as Professor Yang advised: Exercise in a safe place, conversate with people using various method such as video calls, and live a well-regulated life. CUF hopes that people, including CUK students, take Professor Yang’s advice so that they can be positive--against all odds.


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이은서 2020-12-07 23:05:21
You are awesome Yerin ~ One of a Kind~~~ The best student in Eng lit~~~