- Taylan Karansa – tcarran
- From BBC News Brazil in Sao Paulo
“We have many children with symptoms of depression and anxiety. One student even fainted at school and the child left several times in the middle of class, in the middle of the exam, unable to breathe, staying there crying, shivering.
We have a lot of kids who have anxiety attacks — we think, right, because we can’t diagnose anyone. But I think it is due to everything that has happened in the pandemic.
We talk to the child, talk to the family and refer them to a psychologist. But after a while we asked her, will she leave? [ao psicólogo]? ‘ And they say ‘I went once, but there was nothing else’. They provide primary care, but cannot follow up with a psychiatrist at the health center.
We referred a girl who was raped when she was younger and it was UPS [Unidade Básica de Saúde] She responded with a document saying she needed a referral to psychology. But she also says that they do not have a psychologist in the unit’s Family Health Support Center and that he does not fit into the Caps IJ ملف profile [Centros de Atenção Psicossocial Infantojuvenil].
They say they do not plan to hire a new specialist, giving the family a list of free or socially priced psychotherapy services. But this is completely unrealistic for this society, because families do not even have the money to buy a ticket. A lot of families are really starving. We see students asking for money at the lighthouse.”
The report is from a teacher at EMEF (Municipal School of Primary Education) Solano Trindade, in Jardim Boa Vista, west of São Paulo, who chose to remain anonymous.
The situation I have described is not an isolated case.
A map made by the São Paulo State Department of Education, in partnership with the Ayrton Sina Institute, released in April of this year, identified that 69% of students in the São Paulo State Network reported having symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
The survey also indicated that 5.7% of students reported that they witnessed psychological violence often, and another 3.8% claim that they witnessed physical violence at home more often.
But the mental health demands of students are not limited to these.
“I have six students who think they are trans [transexuais, pessoas cuja identidade de gênero é diferente de seu sexo biológico] And we have reports of child sexual abuse,” says the teacher, on issues related to gender and sexuality that arise in everyday school life and that require qualified monitoring.
It tells of feeling frustrated and helpless in the face of the impossibility of referring students to appropriate care.
“I feel very hopeless, with a feeling of helplessness, confusion, and unpreparedness,” she says.
“Because this is: If the only thing they have is me, I wish I could do them something better, but I don’t know how I should act in some situation, so I feel bad. It’s awful for a child to come to you in a dangerous situation like violence and you don’t Something, because it seems that the school, as an institution, accepts this situation, ”the teacher regrets.
“It makes me really sick. On vacation, I’ve been dreaming about these kids.”
“Coming back from the epidemic is very difficult”
Adriana Corrado, educational coordinator at EMEF Solano Trindade, confirmed to BBC News Brasil the situation described by the teacher. According to the teacher, the students’ mental health issues have worsened with the return to face-to-face post-pandemic classes.
“The return of the pandemic is very difficult, as students come with different situations to school,” Corrado says.
“There are many students with issues of anxiety, panic, issues of violence, abuse and neglect. Cases have increased exponentially, including conflict situations, so that they can deal with everyday situations,” says a coordinator.
Teacher evaluation is similar. “They have a lot of difficulty in relation to each other. In the case of going back to school and living with their classmates every day, we notice a lot of difficulty in them,” says the educator.
“And they have other causes of suffering: deaths in the family, separation of parents, lack of food in the house, which are things they cannot deal with.”
The educational coordinator notes that all this is detrimental to learning.
“The pandemic has caused a very large gap between students, in terms of content and learning. With that gap, we can deal with it, because we are trained on this. Account.
“But besides that, there are all these mental health issues, especially among teenagers. There was a moment here one day, when in a class of about 30 students, ten students started showing symptoms of anxiety at the same time. Then the teacher you have to stop the class and talk Students leave class and miss class, and then the next day, they don’t come in. So it’s not easy, because the teacher doesn’t have the training to deal with it either.”
The evils of our times
Roberto Campos de Lima, Vice President of the Ayrton Sina Institute, the entity that conducted a study on mental health in public schools in São Paulo in partnership with the Ministry of Education, believes that “evils of a psychosocial nature are the evils of our time”.
“Before the pandemic, this was already an important issue being addressed, with increased anxiety and depression and Burnt [quadro de exaustão e estresse resultante de trabalho desgastante]’ says Lima.
A 2017 survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) cited Brazil as the country with the highest rate of anxiety in the world (9.3% or 18 million people) and the third highest rate of depression (5.8% or 11 million), which is very close to the rate of anxiety. USA and Australia (5.9%).
“But it is also a fact that the epidemic has become a kind of instigator of this, depriving us of a basic human need, which is social interaction,” says a representative of the Ayrton Sina Institute.
Another motivating factor is economic and social conditions, the executive adds.
“During this period when people stayed at home, there was a significant increase in cases of domestic violence, parents in more vulnerable economic situations lost their jobs, children who were previously in school ended up witnessing more incidents of violence, about the difficulties they are facing. families.”
A multidisciplinary challenge
The results of this situation have been recorded in numerous papers on returning to the classroom face-to-face.
The Datafolha survey, commissioned by Itaú Social, Fundação Lemann and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and released in July this year, indicates that 34% of students find it difficult to control their emotions since they return to facial classes according to parents. The percentage goes up to 40% in high school.
In addition, 24% of students feel overwhelmed and 18% are sad or depressed, according to officials. Also according to the survey, only 40% of students receive some form of psychological support in schools.
Lima, of the Ayrton Sina Institute, notes that public education networks are not well prepared to deal with a scenario of students’ psychological distress.
According to him, the first dimension to consider when dealing with this issue is that of education professionals, who need to be able to work on their own social and emotional development in order to be able to deal with the social and emotional learning of students. .
Social and emotional development is the ability to manage one’s emotions in order to develop self-knowledge, empathy, and good interpersonal relationships.
The second dimension, according to Lima, is that the social and emotional development of students has an interdisciplinary character.
“At a certain point, this development stops being just an educational challenge and becomes a health challenge,” he notes, referring to the central role of guardianship boards in the connection between the school and the social protection network.
It acknowledges, however, that there are shortcomings in the ability of the public sector as a whole to deal with the population’s demand for mental health care.
A survey by researcher Renata Webber Gonçalves, of the Center for Research on Public Mental Health Policy at the Institute of Psychiatry of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Nuppsam/UFRJ), found that mental health accounts for only 2.7% of federal health expenditures. in 2001, a percentage that dropped to 2.1% – or 12.50 R$ per capita – in 2019.
“The protection network does not have a surplus of capacity. It is a network that is facing challenges from a logistical and operational point of view. So, for sure, a greater allocation of resources, especially with the situation that is getting worse in the post-pandemic period. It will be key,” says Lima.
For the teacher and educational coordinator at EMEF Solano Trindade, it would also be desirable for public schools to have psychologists on their staff.
“Everyone who works in municipal education understands that every school should have a psychologist, to take care of these children and adolescents and also to help the teacher, because it is very difficult,” says the teacher, who chose to remain anonymous.
“I see in the health center where I am sick and because of this situation in the school there is a very big shortage of mental health workers, at a time when it is critical for the whole of Brazil, it is not just for the schools. And it is very difficult to get psychological care or psychiatric in the Public Health Network.”
City council says UBS will hire new psychiatrist
Regarding the teachers’ report from EMEF Solano Trindade, the Municipal Health Department of São Paulo stated that UBS Jardim Boa Vista – the health unit closest to the school – has a vacancy in psychology for 40 hours, and the recruitment process is in the final theater.
“The professional has already been selected and will begin in the unit from the 5th of next month,” the volume reported on 8/17. Also according to the secretary, the unit also has a family health strategy team, with professionals qualified to meet requirements that include mental health.
The volume highlights that UBS has implemented a community therapy project for EMEF Solano Trindade teachers and staff, in partnership with Centro de Convivência e Cooperativa (Cecco) Previdência, to contribute to the mental health of the school community.
The Municipal Education Department, in turn, reports that it has a Learning Support and Monitoring Center (NAPA), for children and adolescents who, due to social, cultural or emotional situations, are experiencing or experiencing significant losses in their education. to treat.
“With regard to EMEF Solano Trindade, the unit is accompanied by Nappa, who guides students according to each case, performs collective reception and listening,” said the secretary.
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