The pandemic and the restrictions imposed in connection with it amplified the states of anxiety, fear and depression among the young people, shows a study by the Partnership for Development Center. About 20% of the young people who took part in an opinion poll said their psycho-emotional state worsened. They started to more often experience physical pain, lack of appetite, insomnia and also feelings of panic, sadness and nervous breakdowns, IPN reports.
According to Natalia Covrig, public policy analyst at the Partnership for Development Center, the pandemic had different effects on different categories of young people. The young people older than 18 were most affected. It is presumed that it happened due to the changes in the education system and on the labor market.
The girls and young women suffered the most as a result of the restrictions, over 40% of the girls saying their psycho-emotional state was negatively affected. In relation to the general population, the young people with disabilities were the worst hit. According to Natalia Covrig, they faced discrimination and stereotypization outside the pandemic too, but their situation worsened together with the pandemic. This group of people was more separated from the population and preconditions for later discrimination were created.
During the self-isolation period, the risky behaviors among the young people became more frequent. Tobacco use rose by 40%. The young people who were subject to violence before the pandemic were subject to abuses even more often during the pandemic. Natalia Covrig noted that the subject of mental health of young people and adolescents should be on the authorities’ agenda, while the policy response should be adjusted to the young people and financial resources for developing programs for them should be allocated.
UNFPA Assistant Representative in Moldova Natalia Plugaru said the pandemic in the long run affected not only those who directly face the virus, but everyone. The young people are not invincible in this regard. Worldwide, the governments started to implement programs to support the young people. “For us, those from the UNFPA, the young people’s health, including their psycho-emotional wellbeing, healthy behaviors are a priority,” she stated.
Youth-Friendly Health Center “Neovita” director Galina Leshko said that anxiety and physiological stress are normal reactions of the body. If the subject “Life Habits” had been introduced into the school curriculum, the young people’s response to the current conditions had been different as the young people now show that they are not aware of their own feelings and experiences.
The poll covered 1,010 people aged between 15 and 24