Storyblock’s graphic of a brain full of many things..
Storyblock’s graphic of a brain full of many things..

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Image Credit: Storyblocks.
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, we’re continuing our series of episodes covering the current COVID-19 pandemic. On this edition, Neil deGrasse Tyson is joined by comic co-host Chuck Nice and neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD to explore the relationship between the pandemic and mental health. 

How has the human condition adapted to the pandemic? Heather tells us why a certain subset of people previously suffering from OCD have gotten better. We investigate the rise in social anxiety and whether that will stay present after the situation has improved. We also examine why people are pushing against safety regulations and the quarantine. We compare the way a collective society works opposed to an individualistic society. 

Then, it’s time to dive into fan-submitted Cosmic Queries. Find out of there are positive effects on mental health during this state. Neil tells us about Isaac Newton’s isolation from a plague that resulted in important discoveries in gravity. Heather discusses the increased role of mental health professionals. But that begs the question from Neil, how much training can a mental health professional have to prepare for a pandemic?

You’ll learn more about the importance of sunlight during times of quarantine, especially for those living where their homes might not receive a lot of daily light. Heather explains how your pre-existing personality shapes how you respond to the current environmental circumstances. We ponder if there will be a rise in agoraphobia once society fully opens up. 

In our last segment, StarTalk Sports Edition co-host Gary O’Reilly joins our trio to discuss how athletes are dealing with being in quarantine. How can athletes retain their super-fast mental processing speeds while not competing? And, as sporting leagues start to play again, how will players react to playing in front of empty stadiums? We ponder whether sports might be less aggressive or competitive without fans present to watch in person. All that, plus, we debate how long sports has to be sidelined in order for people to lose interest. 

Thanks to our Patrons Bryan Poole, Dominic Wells, Marcus Rodrigues Guimaraes, Ástþór Sigurvinsson, Ord Toothman, Rob Brown, Mattie Ann Parker, and Robert Seeley for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver,

In This Episode

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