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Psychology in extraordinary times


Written by
Georgina Jeronymides-Norie

It’s an extraordinary time to be alive. Each and every one of us has seen the world drastically change in an incredibly short space of time as a result of the pandemic, and we have had to quickly adapt to a new way of functioning in our day-to-day lives. The responses to the global health crisis have varied significantly between individuals, groups and countries and if you are curious about why this is, then the study of psychology could be the perfect match for you.

woman in a therapy session

Wanting to study psychology is wanting to understand people. In essence, it is the scientific study of the human mind and why we behave the way we do. It’s a multi-faceted discipline that looks at how a number of factors, including biological, environmental and social, have the power to shape our thoughts, feelings, motivations and actions. By entering into this field, you’ll gain a deep understanding of what makes people tick and the ways psychology can be used to bring about positive change on both an individual and societal scale.

In getting to know different subsects of the field, including social psychology, cognitive psychology, neuroscience and many others, you’ll learn the Applications of Psychology and how to practically apply your knowledge to a given situation in order to address complex, current, real-world situations. We can see this use of psychology happening today in context of the global health crisis.

Psychologists and mental health professionals have been key in raising awareness of the psychological impact of COVID-19 and bringing psychological wellbeing to the fore of public conversations. Psychological wellbeing is a combination of feeling positive about yourself and your life, along with the ability to function effectively as an individual, in relationship with others and in wider social contexts.

Take a moment to consider what you have in place to help you cope with stress, make your life feel meaningful and support your wellbeing - seeing friends and family, routine, purpose, perhaps even seeing a therapist. For many, the necessary preventative measures put in place to stop the virus spreading (self-isolation, lockdowns and social distancing) made it more difficult to access the support mechanisms that usually help us through times of worry.

You may have experienced a variety of emotions and reactions, ranging from panic and anxiety to calm and gratitude, or going from feelings of lethargy to then wanting to do everything at once. These are all psychological responses to threat and change, and different people, and cultures, will respond in different ways – something explored in more depth in the Mental Health Around the World module.

Being able to provide insight into the human mind is relevant and vital to all sectors (including health, business, politics, law and human resources) precisely because we are all psychologically affected in one way or another by world events. On a societal level, psychologists can offer both predictors for human behaviour and knowledge of how to effectively communicate with people to inspire unity over a beneficial common interest, such as protecting public health.

On an organisational and individual level, psychologists can provide guidance in change management and how to care for oneself and other people in difficult times.

Here at the University of London, mental health and wellbeing are of utmost importance. Informed by psychological and therapeutic research, we are able to offer our students a range of resources to help them stay happy, healthy and motivated throughout their studies.

When you become a student, you gain free access to the 24-hour peer support app, TalkCampus. An online platform exclusively for students to talk with anonymity, in a safe environment, to support one another through the ups and downs of life. For those who want to help others, there is also the opportunity to take part in the TalkCampus Volunteer Training Programme, which equips students with online counselling skills.

Over on the ‘Wellbeing’ hub on the Student Portal, you’ll find guidance on looking after your mental health. There are articles by staff, students and thought leaders, as well as apps clinically proven to promote psychological health. Our Online Library hosts a varied Wellbeing Resources collection, offering a specially curated reading list to assist you on your personal development journey.

There are also lots of ways for students to contribute to the sense of community and belonging felt here at the University. By participating in our #UoLWellbeing and ‘I feel better when’ campaigns, and writing for our Student Blog, students have the opportunity to offer motivation and encouragement to our global community, and advice on how to better care for your wellbeing.

If you are interested in delving into the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour, our online BSc Psychology is an accessible way to earn a psychology degree from anywhere in the world.

This degree can be applied across a range of professions from management, human resources to the education, health psychology, counselling or the criminal and legal sectors.

The modules on the programme are wide ranging from learning how to apply psychological science to understanding mental health problems and all the main areas of psychology. You will be able to gain a thorough understanding of human behaviour, how the mind works and learn to apply psychological science to a variety of contemporary and social challenges.

The range of academic content for the programme is backed up by a world leader in research. King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) is a world leader and ranked 2nd in the world for Psychiatry and Psychology (US New Best Global Universities).

Find out more about studying the BSc Psychology with the University of London.