A Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Dzifa Abra Attah, has advised the youth to gain a firm control over the uncertainties surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic. While admitting that the pandemic presented a very challenging time for individuals, especially the youth, she said they had the ability to adjust to changes and therefore advised them to cope to the new normal.
Dr. Dzifa was speaking as a panelist at a webinar on the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme (CoRe), which is an initiative of the Springboard Road Show Foundation, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Solidaridad. The programme is aimed at supporting over 692,000 young people across the country with relevant skills to cope with the disruption caused by the global pandemic.
She was speaking on the theme, ‘Prioritising Mental Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
“In any kind of change, we have the ability to adjust. We react to things differently; some people have been able to adjust to the new normal but others may be still struggling. There are various things that you can draw on to cope in a situation like this. There is a lot of uncertainty but to be able to cope with it, you have to take control of your environment,” she stated.
“You may not be able to control the COVID-19 pandemic but you can choose to focus on the positives. Look at the situation holistically and not focus too much on the negativity and neglect your ability to cope with the situation,” she added.
As young adults, she said there were certain tasks that they would want to achieve in order to become well-adjusted. She said some of the tasks are looking to build some sort of identity as an individual, looking to project a good body image, and also looking for independence.
“Besides that you are also looking to connect with peers. But all these things have been disrupted to some sort of extent because of COVID 19. There are some young people who have had their jobs affected and lost their incomes. For a lot of young individuals some of them may be working at places like hotels and restaurants which have been affected by COVID,” she pointed out. She said all these were likely to take a toll on the mental health of the youth.
2020 has been different
Another panellist on the programme, a young electrician, Alfred Xatse, sharing his experience said 2020 had been very different and difficult for him due to COVID-19.
“Before COVID life was fun and interesting, and then gradually the unexpected popped up. We use to hang out with friends and party a little on weekends after a long week and COVID-19 just disrupted the fun so we have been managing since. What I did to manage the situation was that I have a couple of friends that come around and play games to kill the boredom,” he stated.
He said the pandemic had also affected his business, just when it was beginning to pick up.
Getting used to new normal
A medical practitioner, Dr. Elise Tirza Ohene-Kyiei, who was also on the panel said she was now beginning to get used to the new normal
“Last year after the stress of work and everything, there were things outdoor to relieve the stress. My friends and I will meet up to dance salsa and hang out but we cannot do that anymore. We use to travel to places but we have had to give up all of that, but gradually we are getting used to the new normal,” she stated.
The CoRe programme is an e-mentoring, e-coaching and e-counseling intervention aimed at equipping young people in Ghana with relevant skills to enable them to survive and thrive during and after the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The six-month programme, scheduled to run from June to November 2020, has local collaborators including the National Service Scheme, Ghana Psychological Association and Ghana National Association of the Deaf.