China’s Strict Covid Lockdowns Affecting Mental Health
The lockdowns imposed by the Chinese government for controlling Covid-19 is proving dangerous for its own citizens, and millions of citizens are suffering from critical mental health issues, Geopolitica.info a study center on geopolitics and international relations reported.
After the nationwide protests led by students and youth of China, the country has relaxed the lockdown in some places still there are places that suffer harsh Covid restrictions. Geopolitica reported quoting a World Health Organisation report that 54 million people in China experience depression and about 41 million suffer from anxiety disorders because of Covid measures.
Wuhan, the city where Covid-19 was first detected has observed a 79 percent hike in suicides during the first quarter compared to the previous year. In a survey, more than 40 percent of people were found at risk of mental depression after the imposition of the lockdowns in the city in April this year Geopolitica quoted a report from The Economist.
Even the internet searches related to mental health, done by people on Baidu, a Chinese search engine had risen by 253 percent Geopolitica said citing The Economist report. The issues cannot also be addressed by the medical facilities available in the country. According to Geopolitica, the total number of certified psychiatrists in China is more than 40,000, indicating less than 3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population. And most of these psychiatrists work in the developed eastern coastal region of China, leaving the treatment gap for mental disorders in the country’s western and central areas.
However, the Chinese authorities give a totally different counterargument for the harsh Covid restrictions. They pointed out the low pandemic-related death numbers because just 15986 people died because of Covid infections compared to the 6.6 million people worldwide. Although, according to estimates by the Japanese investment bank Nomura, about 412 million people had to suffer some kind of lockdown in China by the November end. That is almost one-third of the Chinese population.
All the lockdowns not only affected the mental health of the people but also limited their access to healthcare and food in cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Wuhan where authorities doubled down their efforts to curb Covid spread by sealing up buildings and locking down areas, according to Geopolitica.
During the lockdowns in Shanghai, many schoolchildren were not allowed to go home. Even 15-year-old children were forced to isolate themselves at hotels. They did have anyone to take care of them and they did not have anyone to talk to making them get struck with extreme isolation. Geopolitical quoted a report from Current Psychology, a US journal, around 20% of Chinese junior and senior high school students in lockdowns experienced suicidal ideation. And Fudan University survey of around 4,500 young people conducted earlier this year showed that some 70% of students expressed varying degrees of anxiety. (ANI)
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