The Refugee Law Project joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Mental Health Day on the theme ‘Mental Health for All; Greater Investment - Greater Access, Everyone, Everywhere’. The theme fits well with the current times when the world is facing COVID-19, a pandemic that continues to claim many lives and leave many in fear and anxiety.
While social distance plays a strong role in controlling the spread of the virus, it continues to have unintended psychological consequences as it alters our way of life as we know it. Additionally, social distancing heightens the risk of discrimination in instances where someone is suspected to have the infection or has been in an isolation centre or appears to be a foreigner. The long term impact of this requires thorough scrutiny and interventions to be put in place to deal with possible COVID-19 related trauma in homes, school, work and communities.
Every 21st day of September, the World comes together to commemorate the International Day of Peace. As noted by the United Nations, this year it has been clearer than ever that we are not each other’s enemies. Rather, our common enemy is a tireless virus that threatens our health, security and very way of life. In 1981 the United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace, and in 2001 it unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. It is perhaps this spirit that prompted the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres on the 23 March 2020 to appeal for a global ceasefire amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.