COVID-19: podcasts for members

We will be recording podcasts specifically in the context of COVID-19. Please note that the views of the interviewees are not necessarily those of the College.

Lost in thought: can intellect save you in a pandemic?

What does it really mean to be an intellectual? Does it have anything to do with academia, or can anyone become an intellectual through inquisition and deep thinking? In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud talks to Dr Zena Hitz about her 2020 book ‘Lost in Thought’, in which she argues that ‘learning for its own sake’ is a key ingredient of human happiness, vital for the circumstances we currently live in.

Are you ignorant about the pandemic?

In this podcast, Professor Renata Salecl discusses her new book, 'A Passion for Ignorance: What We Choose Not to Know and Why', with Dr Raj Persaud, examining the human tendency to ignore what is inconvenient or traumatic. They also consider the relationship between ignorance and psychotherapy, and question whether ignorance is in fact the central problem at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The psychology behind mathematical modelling of epidemics

Our understanding of and reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has been largely driven by the modelling developed by infectious disease experts. While this is largely referred to as ‘science’, both mathematical and sociological considerations are crucial to this modelling process. Here, Dr Raj Persaud speaks to Professor Chris Bauch, whose work is centred on applying mathematics to real-world problems in infectious diseases, about how this modelling system works and how effective our response has been.

Alcohol self-management during COVID-19 and beyond

Alcohol use amongst the general population has become more polarised during the COVID-19 pandemic, with those who previously drank heavily reportedly now drinking even more. It is therefore vital that those in the at-risk groups for severe dependency are identified and supported to cut down their intake safely. In this podcast, Dr Peter Rice talks to Dr Jennifer Powell about the most effective ways to help alcohol-dependent patients self-manage their alcohol use during the pandemic and beyond.

Coping with the 'pointless suffering' of COVID-19

With the current COVID-19 pandemic appearing to inflict suffering indiscriminately, age-old questions have come to the fore, like “why do we suffer?, why do people die young?, is there any point to our physical and emotional pain?”. In his 2018 book, ‘Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering’, Professor Scott Samuelson examines the various philosophies of suffering and attempts to tackle these hardest questions of all. Here he talks to Dr Raj Persaud about the conclusions he has drawn from these theories, and how this may help us to cope with suffering at this challenging time.

Re-reading Camus’s ‘The Plague’ in pandemic times

Albert’s Camus’s famous 1947 novel ‘The Plague’ has now come to the attention of a new generation of readers – those who draw parallels between Camus’s depictions of disease-ridden Algeria and the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently living through. It is the story of placid everyday lives that are suddenly, brutally disrupted by a virus: an existential reminder of the arbitrariness of life and the certainty and randomness of death. In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud talks to the author of ‘A Very Short Introduction’ to Camus, Dr Oliver Gloag, about the impact this writer could have on our outlook and behaviour during these challenging times.

Obedience to authority – lessons from Milgram applied to COVID-19

In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud talks to Professor Stephen Reicher about Milgram’s famous ‘obedience study’ (Milgram, 1963) and the various conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. What does this, together with more recent research into obedience, imply about our willingness to conform to authority, and what does it tell us about our likelihood to comply with instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Mental Health Tribunals: response to the COVID-19 emergency

It is essential that the rights of patients detained under the Mental Health Act continue to be met during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during this period of social distancing the processes surrounding Mental Health Tribunals have had to be adjusted in order to keep all parties safe. In this podcast, Chief Medical Member Dr Joan Rutherford outlines the emergency measures that have been put in place, and provides guidance on how clinicians can continue to treat detained patients fairly and respectfully during this time.

Ethical considerations arising from COVID-19

Psychiatrists are used to dealing with ethical issues in daily practice, but COVID-19 has pushed many into unfamiliar territory and challenged us with new ethical dilemmas. In this podcast, Dr Steve Pearce and Dr Jacinta Tan talk to CPD Online Trainee Editor Dr Jennifer Powell about ethical considerations arising from COVID-19, including equity of access to services, personal and collective needs around prevention and treatment, potential changes to the Mental Health Act, risks and benefits of remote working and where to find support when confronted with COVID-19-related ethical dilemmas.

COVID-19: Isolation and loneliness – is there a 'social cure'?

Isolation and loneliness are part of the mental health fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine – but what are the most effective responses to this? Is there a 'social cure'? In this podcast, Catherine Haslam discusses her research into the many health benefits of social integration, as detailed in her latest book 'The New Psychology of Health', and outlines how clinicians can support their patients in this important area. 

Surviving the trauma: post-traumatic stress disorder in relation to COVID-19

In this podcast, Professor Jonathan Bisson talks to Dr Raj Persaud about PTSD and the notion of ‘trauma’ in the context of COVID-19, including the diagnostic criteria for PTSD and evidence-based effective pharmacological and psychological approaches for its treatment and management.

Psychosocial response to epidemics – lessons from Ebola applied to COVID-19

In this podcast, CPD Online Deputy Editor Dr Howard Ryland talks to Dr Peter Hughes about his experience of working in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak.

They discuss what comparisons can be drawn between Ebola and COVID-19 and examine the lessons we can learn from the psychosocial response seen in West Africa – from the perspective of patients, healthcare workers and wider society.

The psychology of coping with quarantine

In this podcast, Professor Neil Greenberg talks to Dr Raj Persaud about how to cope with quarantine and the surprising findings of the latest psychological research on the mental effects of quarantine, as recently published by a group of mental health experts including Professor Greenberg in The Lancet – 'The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence'.

The psychology and psychiatry of pandemics

In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud talks to Professor Steven Taylor about his recently published book offering a comprehensive analysis of the psychology of pandemics. 

How do psychological factors influence the spread of pandemic infection and the associated emotional distress and social disruption?