The term "physical distancing" is recommended rather than "social distancing" during the COVID-19 pandemic for reducing feelings of rejection among people with mental health problems.

Wasserman D, van der Gaag R, Wise J

Eur Psychiatry 63 (1) e52 [2020-06-01; online 2020-06-01]

As COVID-19 has plagued our world, the term "social distancing" has been widely used with the aim to encourage the general population to physically distance themselves from others in order to reduce the spread of the virus. However, this term can have unintended but detrimental effects, as it evokes negative feelings of being ignored, unwelcome, left alone with one's own fears, and even excluded from society. These feelings may be stronger in people with mental illnesses and in socio-economically disadvantaged groups, such as stigmatized minorities, migrants, and homeless persons [1], many of them also having high risk for suicidal behaviors [2]. Mental health disorders are pervasive worldwide; the global burden accounting for approximately 21.2-32.4% of years lived with disability-more than any other group of illnesses [3]. So, the vulnerable group of people with mental health disorders represents a considerable share of the total global population.

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Type: Journal article

PubMed 32475365

DOI 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.60

Crossref 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.60

pii: S0924933820000607
pmc: PMC7287304

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