Children

Children return to the real world after more worrying epidemics – 06/08/2022 – Tom Farias

My 4 year old granddaughter Alika has been suffering a lot from the epidemic for the last two years. I think he had a kind of depressive outbreak, the effects of which he didn’t know how to express, he just showed a normal restless behavior, often aggressive – not just with his mother, but with his brother Zion. Then the newborn.

The process of coronavirus resurgence in Brazil, especially in cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where he lives, made us realize what really hurt him, the lack of communication with his schoolmates and the sudden imprisonment. She started living in a bubble and didn’t understand why.

A lonely one at home, overnight, she, a child, did not fully understand the reason for the captivity, a word that is still not in the domain of her vocabulary dictionary.

Alika has been returning to school since the beginning of the year. The serene, playful, festive nature that has always characterized him has magically returned to what we saw in the second half of last year from mid-2020.

This behavior of my grandson now better reflects what we can expect from the behavior of children and young people. It is an effect that will stay in their hearts and minds. But not only that.

The real world is back, but not the way we know it it’s different. He is divided into varied, layered, twisted emotions and painful memories of orphans and abandonment.

I’m talking about mental health and its effects, how much anxiety and depression come in the form of restlessness and distraction, which affects concentration, through school studies and state of mind, in the form of apathy towards yourself and the world around you. .

The environment has become strange for most of these young people we are referring to. Due to the distance of about two years, there was difficulty in face to face communication. There are still young people wearing face masks as a preventative measure, reflecting the fear caused by the catastrophic effects of Covid-19. Other young people do not: they want to adapt to the new reality. It also inspires ways of greeting each other – loving hugs, handshakes, kisses on the cheeks, walking in groups, all of which present something very symbolic and challenging today.

For many of them, coming back to school has been toxic. The rhythm is not the same as before, and it really can’t be. As a result, the conflict has become more frequent and affects most young people. Furthermore, young people show signs of not being “ready” to return to the classroom, just as teachers – and other education professionals – show that they are not “ready” to accept this student into the new normal – because, for one or the other, Everything is new, everything is different.

For all these reasons children and young people like my granddaughter Alika struggled with space constraints. Spending more time at home, with parents, siblings and other family members – not necessarily relatives – often in adjoining and inappropriate environments, adding to the conjunctival problems caused by the health crisis, makes things more difficult.

In many homes, young men and women have experienced violent situations, such as quarrels between a couple or a loved one, sleep deprivation, food insecurity – excess or deficiency – loss of family income, indiscriminate self-medication, fear of death or loss of someone close.

These are the symptoms that characterize the mental behavior of many young people today who want to go back to their old ways and their old ways at any cost.

And we are talking here about young people whose family or loved ones can offer some comfort for material things, which, above all, includes professional assistance in any kind of illness.

We need to focus on a large segment of the population that, due to low incomes and other material uncertainties, cannot get the same benefits. We are referring here to a significant part where, above all, public policies do not guarantee access and social welfare. For this population group, we need to think of a professional service – a kind of mental health SUS – that serves a growing number of target audiences, including the poor and black people in the periphery, slums or suburbs.

This process is not easy to feel in the face of the obvious material difficulties – the epidemic has shown that many families did not even have drinking water in their homes. In this case, hygiene goes into the background during severe epidemics, leading many to despair. All of this has only exacerbated the depth of inequality, affecting already marginalized or marginalized groups without historically basic or specific services.

In Brazil, and in many parts of the world, many people are afraid to get vaccinated against Covid-19 but, surprisingly, they are not afraid to be infected and express themselves on the street or in closed environments and without a mask. Huge amount of public.

In all these situations it is necessary to acknowledge that we are going through a kind of normalcy. Covid-19 is not over, to be sure, it has manifested itself in a seasonal way, with low and high levels of pollution and death. Needless to say, it does not need to be treated with care and attention. Obviously, not giving up the use of a mask and hand hygiene with water and alcohol gel is part of this precaution that must be advised and followed.

Data collected from the Ministry of Health in the first year of the epidemic show some impact on human health here in Brazil. For 86.5% of people surveyed, there was a high increase in anxiety. For at least 45.5%, “post-traumatic” stress disorder increased, and, in 16% of the group, “severe depression.” %.

These symptoms indicate how much the epidemic has crippled people for fear of death or loss of quality of life.

A child like Alika, who does not have the resources to express her feelings properly. For him, or for an adult, in the same way, an epidemic is a process that has not been completely cured.

We still have to wait for a more accurate diagnosis of the effects of the epidemic on the mental health of the Brazilian population and other people. This could take decades. Recent studies show a new angle in reading the evils caused by the Spanish flu, which occurred among us a hundred years ago, killing nearly 50 million people worldwide.

At the time, the world was still feeling the effects of World War I, which ended in 1918. Without the means of communication that we have today – such as radio and television, social networks, powerful means to integrate people – the fear of drowning, then without any cure, affected thousands of Brazilians emotionally, leading many to die.

It needs to be strengthened, with great caution, especially with young people, who are increasingly indifferent to the information process, be it on television or in print newspapers. Knowing how to deal with them, what to talk to them is a valuable piece of information to get back to this normalcy.

I know some young people who do not read the newspaper or watch TV shows, either because of lack of interest or because of extra anxiety. Most of them are only connected to cell phones or notebooks, connected to the Internet all day long. Any communication channel is capable of transmitting bad information. So, if the mentioned vehicles are bad or create distrust in what they want to convey, then what comes to us through digital is also not completely reliable.

This leads to the spread of well-known denialism and false news, further confusing the minds of those who have little knowledge or doubt about the reality that surrounds them.

I wanted to share some of the concerns that affected me as I recall contact with Aleka at her mother’s home in recent days. She went back to school, as I said, she went back to socializing with her little friends. He wakes up very early, has breakfast and whatever is done, starts getting out of the house, taking transport and getting ready to study. The difference is that he is doing all this work hours before he needs to. You have more worries. Your mental state is the same. The minimal care we have with it is the tip of the iceberg that awaits us for the rest of Brazil.

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