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Mental health risks

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We have been making decisions regarding our mobility for several months that do not seem to follow a logical sequence. I use my example, so as not to make generalizations, although it is clear that we all already know cases like this; While some activities have returned to a new reality, others are not even considered due to the apparent risk they imply. This dilemma, about what can be done and what cannot, may be driving results that we are not foreseeing well.

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During the last few weeks, acquaintances and family have decided to go on vacation, under the basic health measures that are familiar to us all. Some have boarded planes and stayed in hotels; others have driven to rented places, to places with a certain isolation; but they agreed that, no matter what happened with the pandemic, the time had come to abandon the strange routine of confinement or restricted outings and go to rest. If we observe the capacity of restaurants, shopping centers, department stores and supermarkets, among other places, on weekends, we will see that thousands of people are trying to return to some notion of normality.

It would not then be a surprise if, in the count of daily infections, this return of vacationers from beaches, spas, magical towns and, in general, places of rest, would be reflected in the increase in positive cases that we are currently experiencing. If we make a determination, there may always be a consequence. What I hear as a common justification is that it is a respite from the distressing contingency situation that we have been going through for almost 18 months, particularly in the case of girls and boys, as well as adolescents.

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Altered routines, insomnia, habits that could not be understood in any other context other than that of a health crisis (hours in front of the television or too much time playing video games), alterations in diet, are the effects that are reproduced in each home in the that inhabit the youngest people, who according to available studies are already in a problematic scenario for their mental health.

We must understand that, in the face of the emergency, we had to abandon parks and meeting places, schools, extra classes, and spaces for everyday fun, to confront the virus and gain time to understand its behavior and find scientific and medical options that would defend us.

It was then that, to protect the most vulnerable, we did not lock down and adapted to a new reality that we did not know (we are still working on) how long it would last. The vaccines arrived and with them the promise of a cure. However, the race to even the spread of the virus and its most contagious variant with a sufficient majority of vaccinated continues to be the greatest challenge we face as a country; We are not alone in this: the world is fighting the same battle and our neighbor to the north is promoting by all means possible that a significant part of its population is inoculated, given their skepticism and misinformation about the available vaccines.

This has meant that the horizon is lost regarding the end of the pandemic and we are left with the opportunity (just as you read) to learn to take care of ourselves and live with the virus as we have decided every Saturday and Sunday or as we We did as soon as we considered that summer was allowed, even though the color of the epidemiological traffic light said otherwise.

Coexistence between children and young people is different from what we adults experience. It is not a generational issue, but a scientific one. Any psychology specialist will be able to confirm that isolation affects people differently by age and that is why we cannot sustain it over time. Mental health is identical to physical health, it can atrophy if we do not maintain exercise, good habits and hygiene.

Today we are faced with the decision to return to classes, which will be voluntary, which means that parents and guardians must be well informed of the measures and protocols established by the authorities, what they have to do to take care of the students and the importance that they can return to school coexistence, which is their second home.

Just as we have gone out to other spaces, it is time to go to classrooms with all the caution and information, to reduce the mental health risks that may be developing among girls, boys and adolescents. Let's avoid rumors, misinformation, and do our part without fear and with the commitment to continue caring for those who need us most.


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Yair Ramirez
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