The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for millions of infections and deaths around the world, but what other issues is it causing?

Not only has the pandemic caused a rise in depression, but it also increased cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse, increased pregnancy rates, unemployment and many other problems.

By Enia Dube

In an attempt to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic affects people’s mental health amongst communities in Bulawayo, interviews were conducted with selected individuals in Bulawayo, and participants of bemoaned its effects.

During the first lockdown, a lot of people were retrenched from work. Small to Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) suffered from this big blow because they were not amongst the group that was allowed to work (essential workers). A lot of domestic violence cases during the lockdown have been attributed to factors such as loss of income which caused conflict in families as they struggled to put food on the table.

Individuals with lower income levels have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and efforts moving forward should keep this population in mind. The government should consider SMEs when they put restrictions such as lockdown so that SMEs specifically vendors are allowed to work so as to survive.

Youths between the ages of 18-35 have also reported experiencing depression at a higher rate in the pandemic. Due to the lockdown restrictions, many people were isolated from friends and family which had an effect on their mental health as they were not able to interact freely and get any form of assistance whenever the need arose.

These challenges caused by the COVID-19 have seen a rise in cases of depression as members of the public have been struggling with adjusting to the new normal. Members of the public are undertaking innovative ways of reviving their livelihoods so that they can sustain themselves and their families in this COVID-19 era.

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