• PAHO ECC Young People Dialog

Young People Dialogue on COVID-19 - Adjusting to the 'New Normal'

29 May 2020

Bridgetown, Barbados, 29 May 2020 (PAHO/WHO) — With closings of schools, universities, workplaces, parks and recreational spaces, young people are finding themselves in a situation of excessive amounts of free time, and limited options to spend this time.

An inherent element of the life stage of young people is the expansion of their social network beyond the immediate family, and increasingly counting on their peer network for validation and support, the sudden loss of these networks can have a profound effect on the mental health and wellbeing of young people.  Because of their developmental stage, young people may be less equipped emotionally and socially to deal with the uncertainties that come with the pandemic.

As the local epidemiology of the COVID -19 pandemic changes and lockdowns are lifted and loosened in several countries in the Eastern Caribbean; policymakers and experts are debating how to avoid a new surge in cases. Can we return to schools, restaurants and the office while keeping the coronavirus at bay?  As studies and trials continue to find a vaccine for COVID-19 and a viable treatment, this may take a while, which means many of us may have to get used to a very a different lifestyle, even if some restrictions are eased.

This Young People Dialogue, hosted by the PAHO Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries, took place on 28 May 2020.  It focused on exploring, with young people across the region, what it would take to adjust to this new way of living, and how to cope with pandemic-related isolation in a positive way.  The below video provides a synopsis of the webinar.

Young people represent a valuable resource and network during crises and public health emergencies. With the right training on the disease and its transmission, young people can work jointly with the health authorities to help break the chain of infection.