UPDATED! Coronavirus Pandemic: What You Are Feeling Is Grief (And What You Are Seeing Is Plagiarism)

I make no secret of the fact that I have been struggling emotionally during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why I found the following five-minute YouTube video to be comforting. Psychologist Dr. Sarb Johal tweeted it with the following comment:

We feel the world has changed, and it has. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. Here’s what’s going on and what you can do.

Now, this is not something that I haven’t already heard from my psychiatrist and other people. But there’s just something about the way Dr. Johal puts it.

If, like me, you are struggling, you need to set aside five minutes and watch this:

Thank you, Dr. Sarb Johal! I thought the least I could so is repost this video, since at the moment it has a criminally low 44 views! So get out there and share this. Thanks!

UPDATE 10:45 p.m.: One of my regular blog readers, Brinlea, just shared with me the following article from the Harvard Business Review: That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief, an interview with renowned grief expert David Kessler (thanks, Brinlea!).

Hmmm, this article was written March 23rd, over three weeks ago, and Dr. Johal posted his YouTube video just six hours ago. And the HBR article is pretty much the exact script of what Dr. Johal said in his YouTube video, right down to the examples used. Even the text of Dr. Johal’s tweet (which I quoted up top) is lifted verbatim from the article.

Hmmm… I think at the very least, the good doctor should have credited where he got his information from. Read the Harvard Business Review article and then watch Dr. Johal’s video and you’ll see what I mean. And I wouldn’t even have known about it if it weren’t for Brinlea.

So I will take back my earlier praise. This is still useful information, engagingly imparted, but this is also plagiarism. Dr. Johal basically lifted, almost verbatim, what David Kessler said in his interview with the Harvard Business Review. As a librarian who teaches proper citation style to university students, this is a major no-no.

Not impressed. If you’re going to steal another person’s words, then have the guts to cite your sources. (Do not fuck with the librarians, we will catch you out!)

And if you are looking for some properly cited sources of information about mental health during the pandemic, here is a blogpost I keep updated—to which I have now added two excellent articles from the Harvard Business Review.

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8 thoughts on “UPDATED! Coronavirus Pandemic: What You Are Feeling Is Grief (And What You Are Seeing Is Plagiarism)”

  1. OK so I posted a link to an article called What You Are Feeling is Grief to your previous post and two minutes later you put up a post called What You Are Feeling is Grief. Disoriented me for a moment there!

    1. OK the article is called That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief. I’m confusing myself, sorry.

    2. Brinlea, read the update to my blogpost. Dr. Johal plagiarized his entire video, it’s almost verbatim what was written in the Harvard Business Review article you found, and that article was published THREE WEEKS BEFORE HE MADE THAT VIDEO.

      1. Wow! I’ve seen that before, where “professionals” will lift material verbatim and present it as their own on youtube. I’m sorry that this information you found helpful has been at least a little soured by Dr. Johal’s choice, but I’m glad I got you the real information (in an uncannily timely fashion). Are you going to give Johal feedback?

      2. You know, I was gonna call him on it, but then I thought, *meh* There’s too much drama going around already 😉 I just blocked him on Twitter.

  2. The guy has responded to a comment on his video: “Acknowledged, and original source credited in the video description – this content has been abbreviated and adapted as a presentation that can hopefully help the wider community.” I see that he has added the credit in his video description. Was that added after you watched it, perhaps as a result of the first commend that links to the article?

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