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Friday, October 7, 2022

China’s crackdown on covids has a negative impact on the mental health of young people

In the month of December, Zhang Meng had a nervous breakdown. The recurrent COVID lockdowns of the college campus in Beijing drove the young woman, who was 20 at the time, to the brink of despair, and she found herself crying on the stairs of her dorm.

As a result of the lockdowns, she had been forced to spend most of her time inside her room and was unable to meet up with her friends. In addition, there were stringent limitations placed on the times in which she may use the restroom or take a shower. Zhang, who says she is the kind of person who seeks face-to-face social interaction, said that the limitations had “removed the safety net that was holding me up and I felt like my entire existence was coming down.”

During that month, she was diagnosed with major depression as well as generalised anxiety.

Yao, who is also 20 years old and who asked that his first name not be published, had his first breakdown in high school, when he was a boarder, unable to understand why lockdown rules were so effective. Yao requested that his first name not be used.

Yao made an attempt at suicide at the beginning of 2021 when he was attending college in Beijing. He was unable to escape his depression and was also concerned that he had not completed the classes he needed to since he did not want to make his father angry.

China has used some of the strictest and most frequent lockdown measures in the world in its drive to stamp out each Covid epidemic. They argue that this saves lives and point to their low pandemic death toll of only 5,200 up to this date.

It is an initiative that has shown no indication of abandoning, but medical consultants are alarmed by the coverage’s effect on mental health, and as Zhang’s and Yao’s experiences have shown, it is already taking its toll. It is an effort that has shown little signal of quitting.

According to an editorial that was published in June of this year in the British medical magazine the Lancet, “China’s lockdowns have had a massive human cost, with the shadow of mental-ill ness badly influencing China’s culture and economy for years to come.”

To be more specific, experts are concerned about the mental health of children and young adults, who are more susceptible to mental illness because of their age and the lack of control they have over their own lives. These individuals also have to deal with significantly greater educational stresses and financial pressures than previous generations did.

There is undoubtedly going to be a significant number of children and teenagers impacted. According to an estimate made by China’s Education Ministry in the year 2020, around 220 million children and younger people in China have been imprisoned for lengthy periods of time due to limitations imposed by COVID. A request from Reuters for an up-to-date determination and comment on the matter was not met with a response from the organisation.

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