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Crisis demands we put our minds to what we can do



'We have the consolation that we have best health professionals in world.'

'We have the consolation that we have best health professionals in world.'

'We have the consolation that we have best health professionals in world.'

At the moment many of us would wish for a moment of ingenuity to cope as so much unravels around us.

There was something beautifully simple about the multibillion-dollar funded Nasa's solution to a complex problem with its Mars lander.

The space agency ordered it to be hit with a shovel, and guess what? It worked.

We will gladly take our rare moments of lightness, in an ever darkening sky, where we can find them.

For as Health Minister Simon Harris reminded us: the Covid-19 crisis presents major mental health challenges in terms of individual and national anxiety.

As the number of cases rise, and more and more jobs and livelihoods are put in jeopardy, we find ourselves caught in a cycle of continued surprise and stress.

When the pressure is on, it is even more important to do what we are asked and not give in to worry.

We have seen strong leadership at government level, and we have the consolation of knowing we also have the best health professionals in the world in our hospitals.

Now is a time for trust in the accumulative strength of such groups.

Complex public health emergencies demand a collective response with high-level political and diplomatic engagement at both national and global levels. We are seeing reassuring evidence of this inter-dependence as expert advice and experience from other zones where outbreaks have occurred is now being shared and drawn upon.

The blizzard of numbers and statistics coming at us is overwhelming.

Perhaps it would even be remiss if we were not startled by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty's acceptance yesterday of how more than 400,000 people could lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. On the positive side, the minister also revealed while so far 58,000 applications for the Covid-19 payment have been received, her department has managed to process 43,000 to date.

Trying as the situation is, civil servants have coped.

Somebody once joked: "Yes, I see the red button marked emergency, but I am looking for the one marked 'bewilderment'."

Sometimes, as the psychotherapist Luigina Sgarro wrote: "We discover our greatness when we find ourselves in a situation bigger than we are and we manage to grow and become bigger than the situation."

At yesterday's unique Dáil sitting, the Ceann Comhairle opened proceedings by saying: "However much as we try to tame the world we share with so much else, we are rarely true masters of our own destiny."

No we may not have control over cascading events, but we do have power over our minds when we choose to use it.

We manage, by taking one step at a time, and by not obsessing over that which we must trust to others.

Today so much depends on what has been termed "social distancing".

But there has always been a compelling case for giving ourselves and those around us a bit of space; it is just that now we are being forced to take it.

Irish Independent