REGIONAL: Veteran psychologist worried over pandemic’s mental health impact

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(Barbados Today) – There is mounting concern that as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on there could be a growing number of individuals who may develop mental issues, with some of them even engaging in self-harm.

This assessment has come from Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Ermine Belle, who said that while she was concerned about people between the ages of 45 and 60 years, she was even more worried about school leavers who were unable to find work and entrepreneurs who have lost their income.

“I am a lot more worried about the ones who are now launching into careers. It is those children who are coming out of school and are waiting to go into university and get scholarships and suddenly [thinking] what are they waiting for. It is almost like there is nothing out there to go to, nobody is doing anything, nothing is open, we are just here at a loose end.

“We have to be able to reach out to them and start helping them to refocus. It is not that there is nothing for them to do but they might not be able to follow their particular dream at this time,” said Belle as she addressed this month’s session of the Small Business Association (SBA) monthly members’ information and engagement webinar.

Belle said she was concerned about small business owners who were forced to shut shop during the pandemic, adding that it would be especially troubling for those between the ages of 45 and 60 who had family to care for because even to get employed by somebody else is going to be very hard when things get back on track.

She insisted that learning institutions, businesses and individuals had to adapt and “we have to start having people understanding savings and putting aside things over time”.

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