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We're all in an emotionally complex position - sharing our fears with others helps

Brendan Kelly



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Siobhan Kiely from Prosperous enjoys the good weather in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin yesterday.

Siobhan Kiely from Prosperous enjoys the good weather in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin yesterday.

Siobhan Kiely from Prosperous enjoys the good weather in St Stephen’s Green in Dublin yesterday.

Communication is a vital tool in the response to Covid-19. The Taoiseach addressed the nation last week. The Department of Health holds daily briefings. There are regular updates on the websites of the Health Service Executive and World Health Organisation. We have all learned a new language: coronavirus, delay phase, mitigation phase, flattening the curve.

The public health messages and these new terms all make perfect sense. We understand the need for social distance. Some people need to self-quarantine. Others must self-isolate in order to protect their family and friends.

But while all of these messages and measures are entirely logical, their emotional impact can be confusing. We are told that we are all in this together, but we need to stay two metres apart. We must care for the vulnerable, but we must not visit our mothers on Mother’s Day. And, if we are tested, we should assume that the test is positive and self-isolate until we hear the result, even if we now feel well.