“The Impact of Confinement on the Mental Health of the Population in Macau” - Plataforma Media

“The Impact of Confinement on the Mental Health of the Population in Macau”

Community control measures have been adopted that culminated in the implementation of a “partial” confinement, on July 11, 2022, later reverted to a phase called “consolidation”, starting on July 23, 2022 and which should have the duration of two weeks.

In the implementation of this confinement process, adjustments to the isolation rules were announced daily, which included the closure of all non-essential commercial activities and the ban on staying on the street for all citizens, imposing the mandatory use of KN95 masks.

This constant change in the restrictive measures of circulation, despite the positive relationship with the decrease in cases of contagion, cases of mortality, generated negative impacts on the population, mainly with regard to health and emotional aspects, with profound implications for family relationships and in the increase in suicides.

Experience and research carried out in other countries, where radical confinement measures were applied, indicate that although there is no immediate manifestation of symptoms associated with this phenomenon, this does not mean that they will not appear in the medium term, especially in children. .

And children, adolescents and young people are the most vulnerable hidden victims, which has prompted the study of specialists to analyze the impact of confinement on the mental health of populations, with a special focus, then, on children.

This invisible threat is compounded by other factors of enormous impact, such as the loss of school routine and social relationships, which led UNICEF to declare that the “impact of confinements and restrictions on movement, associated with COVID-19, on health mental health of children, adolescents and young people is significant, but it is only the tip of the iceberg”.

In Macau, unfortunately, mental health problems also result from fear, particularly on the part of the elderly population, which comes from the uninterrupted daily announcement of a multiplicity of disjointed health measures, many of which are considered disproportionate, illogical and even contradictory.

Despite initially demonstrating their support for restrictive measures, the communication process, mainly conveyed through daily press conferences, has proved to be erratic, disconnected and confusing, with inappropriate and unreasonable responses, resulting in a perverse system of social distancing, with dramatic consequences for families and pets.

On the other hand, systematic and long quarantines contribute to an increase in anguish, insomnia and anxiety, psychological symptoms that are aggravated by the disturbance caused by the unexpected attribution, to citizens associated with risk groups, or areas, of the colors (yellow or red) to health codes, without being able to anticipate a change to an appropriate status.

Another worrying picture is the cognitive development of children. One of the first studies on the psychological impact of the coronavirus, cited by El País, carried out with 1,210 people in 194 provinces in China, including 344 young people aged 12 to 21, revealed that 53.8 percent of those surveyed considered the impact to be moderate or severe. of mental health disorders, 16.5 reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms and 28.8 moderate to severe anxiety symptoms.

Finally, we are all learning to live with the pandemic and it seems that the causative agent of Covid is here to stay, due to its constant mutations and variants, such as the flu. And the world begins to understand that it is inevitable to adapt to this new situation. Nowadays, it is a fallacy to think that COVID-19 is over or has gone away for good. What really happens, based on humanity’s epidemiological experience and science, is that the new coronavirus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, is here to stay. The world seems to be beginning to understand this unfortunate phenomenon and so are we all.

*ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS OF MACAU

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