Living in the era of COVID-19: new challenges for psychopathology

Eugenio Aguglia

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Catania, Italy

On February 20, 2020, a young man living near Codogno, Lombardy, was admitted to hospital with atypical pneumonia that later was proved to be COVID-19 1. After slightly more than two months from the discovery of the “patient one”, Italy has registered more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 infections with a number of deaths which is close to 30,000, being the third country in the world for number of deceases (as to May 1st, 2020) 2.

The worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19 represents a real challenge for clinicians working in every field of medicine. From radiologists to anesthesiologists, all specialists had to change their way of working and to rapidly learn new tasks and procedures. Although “physically” distant from the heart of the emergency, mental health professionals had also to deal with innumerable challenges and changes. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted on the well-being and mental health of millions of people. Nevertheless, whereas the physical problems caused by COVID-19 infection – if not fatal – are usually circumscribed in time, the psychological consequences of this pandemic will be presumably long-lasting. 

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