Shanghai Announced Psychological Emergency

Shanghai Announced Psychological Emergency

Zhao, the Shanghai resident has been confined to her apartment for over six weeks while the metropolis of 25 million people battles COVID-19 infections. However, thousands of city people are facing another battle: mental health, as the uncertainty surrounding the lockdown, has exacerbated anxiety and other disorders. She is losing interest and doesn't want to do anything, the 28-year-old, who shares a room with two roommates in central Shanghai told. She added that she has no idea what day it is, and when she read terrible news, she cries. Since late March, Shanghai has been under heavy lockdown to contain what has been China's biggest COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began. Residents are still mainly banned from leaving their houses, despite daily infections gradually dropping, with the city registering less than 1,500 cases for the first time in weeks on Tuesday. Some neighbourhood associations have even tightened restrictions by placing roadblocks and fences in recent weeks. There were even rumours that everyone in a building where an infected person lived would be sent to a quarantine camp, however, the administration later clarified that the restriction applied only to those who shared a kitchen or bathroom.

During the first few days of the lockdown, which was meant to continue from March 28 to April 5, Shanghai saw an increase in mental health difficulties. People with various lockdown-related anxieties called the city's government-run and private mental health hotlines in greater numbers. COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns to contain infections have had a significant impact on the mental health and well-being of millions of individuals around the world. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25% in the first year of the pandemic. Experts in Shanghai have warned of similar rises in individuals who require mental health examinations as the lockdown continues with no end in sight. According to Chen Jun, chief physician of the Shanghai Mental Health Center, the lockdown would cause panic, worry, and depression among inhabitants. He went on to say that they're a frequent psychological reaction to long-term stress. Chen stated at a press conference that these emotions are normal after a long period of isolation, but most of them are moderate, short-lived, and have minimal impact on our lives. The majority of us can get back to normal by making our changes. However, not everyone handles mental illness in the same or even comparable ways. Those in need are seeking help from counsellors, primarily through mental health hotlines.


Qiu Jianyin is a supervisor at Shanghai's 350-strong government-run 24-hour mental health hotline. When coronavirus infections reached 25,000 for days in April, the center received three times as many calls as at other times. Over 80% of callers expressed concerns about the pandemic. "In April, Shanghai was in the 'psychological emergency' stage," Qiu was reported as saying in a video released earlier this month by state broadcaster China Central Television. When the pandemic eases and the city returns to normal in May, new emotional difficulties may emerge, culminating in psychological issues that require society's immediate attention, according to Qiu. According to its manager, Jin Jin, the government-run hotline received 300 to 400 calls per day during its peak time in April. However, by the third week of the month, they had reduced to around 200. In early May, Jin told that it normally takes approximately 20 minutes to answer a call, and longer calls may take 30 minutes. They would sit there and listen to the callers talk, vent, and even complain. He also mentioned that they do their utmost to respond to or resolve their practical issues. However, not everyone is willing to pick up their phones and talk to a stranger. Zhao stated she had previously tried dialling a mental health hotline but it hadn't made any difference.

Meanwhile, Chen Aiyi claims she instead rants and vents her lockup frustrations with her daughter and friends. Even though deliveries have improved since last month, the 60-year-old in Xuhui District is frequently concerned about acquiring daily supplies. She told that every day at 6 a.m., she struggles for food on the shopping app and when she doesn't get anything, she gets depressed. Chen said she gets concerned waiting for the results of the nucleic acid tests that residents are compelled to do regularly, imagining symptoms like sore throats and headaches. She's also worried about the possibility of others entering her apartment to disinfect it. She is terrified that they would ruin her furniture and possessions and leave her with no recourse and she added that a lot of people in her immediate vicinity are tense. Chen said she often diverts her attention from such thoughts by reading or gardening with her spouse during the day. She then spends the rest of the evening watching TV late into the night, avoiding disturbing news and films that are likely to cause anxiety.

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