The Continual Violence Is Wearing Down The Mental Health Of Myanmar Children

Van Thawng Thawng’s phone buzzed as a series of notifications popped up.
“Has anyone talked to Ezekiel?”?In the Chin Student Union Facebook group, which represents students from Myanmar’s northwestern Chin state, someone asked. The 20-year-old union leader had not been heard from.
A friend called Van Thawng Thawng a week later to tell him that Ezekiel’s body had been found.
He was believed to have been beaten to death by security forces. Thawng Van Thawng was devastated.
“I feel really stressed and angry, especially towards the military. Ezekiel is not the only one,” said Van Thawng Thawng, a former Chin student and the general secretary of the same union. “One of my classmates was detained and another was killed trying to save his sister at a protest, and my mother, uncle, and grandmother have all passed away in recent months.”
Van Thawng Thawng’s mother died of cancer, but based on their symptoms he believes his uncle and grandmother had COVID-19, though limited testing leaves him unsure.
It’s hard to comfort people and make them feel better when everyone is dying and everyone is depressed.
Across Myanmar, young people express anger, sadness, and helplessness over the military’s power grab on February 1 and its brutal suppression of anti-coup protests. These feelings have only intensified since July when COVID-19 cases exploded across the country.
Many people are dealing with the grief of losing loved ones to disease and violence in recent years.
Yet, as the world grapples with more immediate dangers such as basic security and access to medicine, mental health has been given a back seat. However, experts warn that the psychological toll is growing as depression and suicide rates rise.

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