The Importance of Social Support in the Pandemic Era

Pandemi Sürecinde Sosyal Desteğin Önemi

The Coronavirus, a totally unexpected situation for humanity, first occurred in China in December 2019, then started to become effective in our country in March of last year.  Despite not being the first-ever when epidemics are taken into account, it proceeded to become a pandemic engulfing all of the countries in the world.

As it seemed likely to take a certain period of time to find an answer as to why the coronavirus spread so swiftly, the most fundamental defense of humanity against this situation, which was apparently causing deaths, was to seek ways to reduce the rates of pandemic encounters. Almost every state, regardless of their regimes, had to impose quarantine practices.

Having affected people from all walks of life, this situation undoubtedly raised the question of how individuals would be psychologically affected by this state of isolation that the pandemic forced people to experience (due to a sudden change in the life style). Having others’ existence to thank for, for the building of the self and existence of their own, humans are bio-psycho-social beings.  As the social needs of the individuals were adversely affected due to the quarantine conditions throughout this process in which communication with others started to decline, the “social service” efforts were entrusted with a serious duty.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that social service units were also put in a difficult position as they were striving to meet the social needs stemming from the situation caused by an unpredictable pandemic.  During the COVID-19 crisis, the social services played an important part in covering the immediate social needs of vulnerable groups such as the homeless and elderly.

As there were a great number of historical evidences regarding the fact that the poor were the ones who were affected the most during the past pandemics, it was predicted that misinformation and miscommunication would disproportionately affect the individuals with a weaker access to the health-specific warnings of the governments.  At this point, a huge duty awaited social service workers.

Within this framework, the contributions of the research on social sciences and social services were not limited only to academic discussions as they also researched how inequalities could be prevented, minimized, solved, and particularly how the immediate social needs of the vulnerable groups being affected by COVD-19 could be met.

The pieces of research being made set forth the significance of collaborating and sharing responsibilities by showing the ways to handle the needs of the homeless and elderly during the pandemic.  It is of importance to take into account the roles of social services experts in providing psychological interventions to alleviate a potential prolonged grief disorder in regards to antemortem and postmortem preparations and organizations during the pandemic.

The social services efforts help people solve and cope with everyday problems they encounter in their lives.  On the other hand, psychology, from an emotional, cognitive, and behavioral perspective, observes and interprets how individuals form relationships with others and with their environment.  At this point, as much as how individuals respond to problems, the psychological effects of the management of the process can also be seen quite clearly.

Both social services and psychology are fields through which the individual is equipped with the tools needed to help himself.  Aiming the same outcomes, these two fields are actively needed under the challenging conditions of the pandemic.

It would be beneficial to increase the interpersonal social interaction during the pandemic era, not just the communication established with social services workers and psychologists.  As it’s an indubitable fact that we are beings that need sociality at every moment of life, it is believed that one would be affected more positively by surviving the pandemic by keeping a physical distance, and not a social one.

Redondo-Sama, G.; Matulic, V.; Munté-Pascual, A.; de Vicente, I. Social Work during the COVID-19 Crisis: Responding to Urgent Social Needs. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8595. DOI: 10.3390/su12208595