Perseverance in the Face of Melancholia

Young people graduating in a troubled economy with bleak career prospects, unable to not just enjoy the best years of their lives, but also to cope with the deaths of their loved ones show their undying strength through perseverance, coming together in times of need.

The pandemic started almost a year and a half ago. Since then, India has been through a series of lockdowns. When it comes to the physical devastation of Covid-19, the older generation took a big hit. However, when it comes to social and mental repercussions, Gen-Z and late Millennials are bearing the load. For the past few years, due to the adamant rise of social media, the mental health of younger generations was already on the decline. But with this new isolated reality, many have lost the enthusiasm to live. Our hope for the future has waned to such a degree that we risk sneers and snorts of derision when we confess that we are hoping for a bright tomorrow.

One in four 18 to 24-year-olds said that they have thought about self-harm during the pandemic, and more than half reported at least one negative mental health symptom — such as depression or anxiety — in light of COVID-19, according to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control.

Micro-losses — A generation lost

The term coined for this overall collective of loss that Gen-Z is going through is — ‘Micro-losses’, which seem to instil everything from cancelled graduations, unstable job market, isolated grief handling, and losing best years of their life. These individuals might not seem that great of an issue in the eye of the great adversity of death. But in a lump sum, the impact of these can be devastating.

People often remark that the future of a nation lies in the youth. But if you look around our country in the grip of a pandemic, the youth has lost hope for their future. Many studies have suggested that there has been an increase in the pessimistic view of these young generations. They are looking at their broken tomorrow and are becoming numb to the shock that they are experiencing.

As a generation born in the most advanced times, they hadn’t witnessed this level of death and loss before. Many young people around this country had to mourn their parents, relatives, and friends in isolation. Many didn’t even get to cremate the bodies of their loved ones. And they had to do this all while preparing for their future, attending their classes and exams under the fear of failing or worse, getting the virus themselves. The long-term effects of this on mental health aren’t even clear to the general public or health policymakers, but we will see the symptoms of PTSD in the upcoming months.

On top of the psychological impacts of the pandemic, younger generations are also grappling with a spike in financial insecurity — 68% of Gen-Zers and 72% of millennials say their financial stress has grown in the face of current events.

What will happen to the country when their future generation is struggling to make ends meet? The unstable job and financial sector, the opportunities snatched from prospective employees, don’t just affect the economic market but also shatters the mental health of an individual leading to potential disorders and a heightened sense of morbidity of their death.

The Government must prioritize a ‘new deal’ for the nation’s young people or risk creating a lost coronavirus generation, disenfranchised with society and without hope for better lives. But even if they start now, it will take months before something concrete takes place that helps the loss we are witnessing.

As individuals, we have to take it into our hands to protect our young generation. Their resolve and their perseverance were on full display during the second wave. That not only shows that there might be a shimmer of hope but also that their fight back is a call to de-stigmatize the conversation around mental health, take it seriously, and not sideline it as a young people’s disease.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The impacts of the pandemic are pushing the limits of human endeavour. We are now at our darkest times, living in a bleak and morbid reality. Yet, these are the very times we see humanity shining its brightest. We see people sharing their griefs and reaching out to fight the deadly pandemic with compassion and sheer willpower. At the beginning of the pandemic, there was an extensive crisis of migrant workers struggling to return to their homes. Amidst one of the strictest lockdowns, we saw how people had stepped forward to play a critical role in providing essential amenities to them like food, cash transfers, and even transportation back to their hometowns and villages.

It is an unbelievable feat where we see children barely crossing 10th standard build platforms such as providing valuable resources on verified lists for Covid beds, oxygen, Remdesivir drug, isolation, meal services, and pet boardings. The maturity and dedication with which many new Covid emergency helplines and Covid resource websites have been run by school and college students are unprecedented.

Another venture, Help Reach Now (H3), led by Aanya, 10th boards examinee, has kicked off its activities with a ‘stitch your own mask’ campaign. They procured fabric from vendors whose sales had dropped and employed jobless tailors. H3 now has over 50 volunteers, all teenagers spanning throughout the country.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the economy, skyrocketing unemployment and creating the worst job market since the Great Depression. Graduating, landing your first job, and starting your adult life are difficult enough on their own, but when you add everything else to the mix, it can be overwhelming. But when asked how to combat this great gloom, the current generation of graduates still sees the light of hope.

It all comes down to one thing: perseverance.

The pandemic has changed our lives: the way we consume, go outside and do work, all have changed because of this pandemic. We need perseverance more now than ever. There is a quote that comes to mind, said by one of the darkest characters in fiction, -

“ In this terrifying world, all we have are the connections that we make.”

It is remarkable to see the youngest of us become the bravest, and forge compassionate human connections, helping those in dire needs and battling their minds with a deep sense of perseverance.



Crafting the way towards Mental Health

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This article was written by Atotmyr.



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Crafting the way towards Mental Health