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Post pandemic stress

*Nelson Moura

Mental health is one of the most neglected aspects in Macau, when it should be one of the areas with the highest investment in health protection. The numbers revealed in one of the articles in this edition of PLATAFORMA are overwhelming: in 2022 there were 80 suicides, of which 15 were in the fourth quarter. That is, an average of at least one suicide per week between October and December.

These numbers show the enormous psychological pressure that the pandemic restrictions have caused. As resilient as it may be, residents are still feeling the effects of the enormous economic and social insecurity of recent years. The population experienced job instability, fear and concern for the health of family members, quarantines, home isolation and many unable to leave the city for almost 1000 days.

Coming out of the crisis, the Macao SAR is now in denial. Any ailment or post-traumatic stress was swept under the rug. The absence of any public debate over the last three years is deafening silence. It doesn’t take a psychological counseling professional to know that pushing traumatic experiences into the innermost corners of the mind is not a sustainable strategy for mental balance. At the same time, anyone looking for help is confronted with a public and private health system with a reduced number of services.

Struggling residents are faced with the prospect of seeing only one mental health professional, and this months after asking for help.

The ills of mental exhaustion are still there, hidden behind many smiling faces, ready to come to the fore if they are not taken seriously by the health services.

*Editor (Portuguese)

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