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Myanmar's young people are suffering from the coup and COVID


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Young survivors in Myanmar suffer from despair and anxiety as a result of deaths caused by violence and disease.

 

The phone of Van Thawng Thawng buzzed, and a series of notifications flashed across the screen.


Someone asked on the Chin Student Union Facebook group, which represents students from Myanmar's northeastern Chin state, "Has anyone spoken to Ezekiel?"
The 20-year-old union leader, though, had not been heard from.

 

A friend called Van Thawng Thawng a week later, on April 14, to inform him that Ezekiel's body had been discovered.


Security officers, they suspected, had battered him to death.
Van Thawng Thawng's life had been turned upside down.


“I'm just stressed out and angry, especially with the military.
Because Ezekiel isn't the only one,” said Van Thawng Thawng, the general secretary of the same union and a former Chin student.
“At a protest, one of my classmates was arrested, and another was killed while attempting to save his sister, and my mother, uncle, and grandmother have all passed away in the last few months.”

 

While Van Thawng Thawng's mother died of cancer after a long battle, he believes his uncle and grandmother both had COVID-19 based on their symptoms, but he can't be sure due to limited testing.


“Everyone is dying, and everyone is depressed,” says the narrator.
It's difficult to console and reassure people.”

 

Following the military's takeover of power on February 1 and the brutal suppression of anti-coup protests, young people across Myanmar are reporting feelings of anger, sadness, and helplessness.
They claim that since July, when COVID-19 cases exploded across the country, these feelings have only grown stronger.


Many people today are grieving the loss of loved ones due to disease and violence.

 

However, as a result of the need to deal with more immediate threats such as basic safety and access to medicine, mental health has taken a back seat.
However, as rates of depression and suicide rise, experts say the psychological toll is becoming impossible to ignore.

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