Let’s be honest, not everyone is counting the days till we all receive a vaccine and get back to life as normal. Once the pandemic is over, many are left to see the full extent of the damages of a prolonged lockdown. When that time comes, most Malaysians are mentally preparing themselves for the worst, with only 10% of families expecting their financial status to improve.
The latest ‘Families On The Edge: Issue #3’ report by UNICEF revealed that:
A total of 500 families with children from the urban poor population in Kuala Lumpur were interviewed.
The most pessimistic of the lot were heads of households that are Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). This group saw a huge leap in unemployment from 13.4% to 50% as of Dec 2020.
The constant and prolonged worry about the future can lead to insurmountable stress. As data shows, respondents experienced increased levels of stress in the past three months of 2020.
Some families have worried about being able to provide food for their families, while others stressed over the lack of employment opportunities.
While UNICEF representatives suggested that some families were on the road to recovery, others continued to deteriorate. With the lockdown continuing in early 2021, the air of uncertainty remains.
A recent Khazanah Research Institute article alluded to the rise in the number of poor if the economic situation worsens or experiences slow growth.
Although several initiatives are already being implemented to accommodate these vulnerable communities, stakeholders should not turn a blind eye to the increased levels of pessimism and stress levels shown. The state of the mental health of the community can be its rise or downfall and none are more affected than the younger generation.