Why Being a Hero is Bad for Your Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic in Southeast Asia

Well-being in Southeast Asia Webinar Series

About the Webinar

When Covid-19 was announced as a global pandemic by WHO on March 11, 2020, healthcare personnel were often hailed as heroes. However, as the virus continued to spread unabated and the death toll rose, stories began to emerge about the cost of heroism.

The fight against the pandemic took a toll on the mental and physical well-being of front-liners. Suddenly no one was feeling heroic. It became all about survival.

Calling healthcare workers heroes is a wonderful tribute but it hides a dark side—it places an undue burden on them because there is an expectation that one ought to deal with any setbacks stoically without complaints. It also places heavy responsibility on individuals to be strong, to show no weakness, and to be able to withstand any difficulties because one is a “hero”. Nowhere was this more starkly depicted than on social media platforms.

Drawing from relevant experiences as both practitioner and educator – such as from Laos and Thailand, potential policy recommendations to support the mental and physical well-being of healthcare workers will be discussed. Particular focus will be given to the critical but often unrecognised role that nurses play in the ongoing global fight against Covid-19.

This webinar is supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

About the Speaker

Dr Subadhra Rai is a Registered Nurse (RN), currently working as a freelance educator teaching nursing, ethics, and public health to nursing, medical students, and health officials from various ASEAN countries. She obtained her doctorate from the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, Canada, and also holds Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and Anthropology from the University of Victoria, Canada. She is also the Chief Editor of the Singapore Nursing Association’s newsletter, SNA Connect, and has served as an observer for WHO’s Summer School 2020 on migrant and refugee health. In 2015, she was Singapore’s sole recipient of the International Achievement Award by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation and International Council of Nursing (ICN), Geneva, Switzerland.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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May 05 2021


10:00 am - 11:15 am