COVID-19 and Family

The emergence of COVID-19 has plagued our world with numerous problems in a short time. Within weeks, multiple businesses have been forced to shut down, leaving people scavenging for sources of income to support their families. While we consider the economic downturns, let us not forget how this pandemic has affected the mental health and wellbeing of our people.

In many ways, COVID-19 is much like the SARS epidemic in 2003. Both viruses are influenza in nature, have similar symptoms, and have taken countless innocent lives. The difference is the extent of their detrimental effect on our world and it can largely be blamed on globalisation.

While we have enjoyed interconnectedness and economic prosperity between countries, the detrimental consequences of globalisation have also hit us with comparable strength. We have had no choice but to push forward and family is an integral part of this process.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has already been on the rise in Singapore and it is considered to be a ‘taboo’ subject by many. According to statistical evidence from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (SG), the number of cases of the physical abuse of children investigated has risen from 188 in 2010 to 660 in 2019. Coupled with the economic downturn and rising unemployment in Singapore, this statistic is projected to rise exponentially.

This phenomenon can be explained psycho-therapeutically, and has already existed way before the pandemic. It is due to a theory called displacement. This is a defence mechanism where we redirect our emotions onto “safe targets” and in this case, it could be those living in the same household.

Anger, by nature, is understandable and perfectly normal. However, when this anger is taken out on innocent people, especially our loved ones, it is not just selfish but there is a complete disregard of our responsibility as a parent, child, or spouse.

Though COVID-19 has brought struggles and unavoidable problems, it has shed light on mental wellbeing and the importance of family. What does it mean to have a family? In my opinion, having a family is to have people around me when even if the whole world gives up on you, they will still be there to support you.

Personally, during the lockdown period from April to June where we had to stay at home most of the time, there was greater time for family bonding and understanding which was otherwise more difficult before COVID-19 due to commitments and heavy schedules.
I have come to understand my family member’s struggles in their everyday lives which were unknown to me, allowing me to be more sensitive and empathetic towards them. Also, with the strains of COVID-19 and its effect on our lives, there were emotions expressed such as anger and sadness among my family members and me. I feel that human emotion is one of the most precious things in life and be it positive or negative, it shows vulnerability and trust in others to not judge which I feel, allows my family to forge stronger ties in the midst of trying times.

While the crisis has affected many of us negatively, it has nurtured bonds between families and reminded us of what’s really important. Much like the proverb “Tough times never last, tough people do”, as we brave through this period of uncertainty and struggles, I hope that Singaporeans will become more resilient and empathetic.


About the writer:

Hi! I’m Ravin, currently a year one undergraduate student in NTU. I feel a great passion for helping and understanding people, which is why I would like to join FamChamps. My dream would be to become a counsellor who is well-known for not just a mentor but also a good friend.