Social stability is equally important as economic stability

The Editor,

The bonds of togetherness and exchanges are part of our experiences as Jamaicans. We were cultured for interaction, we like to be up close and personal. 

Social distancing, stay at home orders, isolation, and quarantine have changed our cultural patterns of interaction.  

These obligatory responsibilities resulted from the pandemic may have adverse psychological effects on people’s mood, ability to work, learn, and a sense of community. People may develop feelings of anxiety, apathy, fear, loneliness, depression, social isolation and stress. These unnerving lingering emotions and feelings may result in social recession.

Social recession steadily squeezes away human kindness, bonding, togetherness and generosity, people become self-interested and self-serving.

Where joblessness, poor living conditions, addictions, and crime are now an individual problem and not a societal problem. The social crisis created by the pandemic may also increase inequality, exclusion, scorn, stigmatization, discrimination and death threats which causes social pain that seems to be ignored by many.

These problems are breeding grounds for increased crime which will impact the economy we are so eager to reopen. It will also impact the moral, spiritual and cultural behaviours of the society.

Social stability is equally important to be achieved as economic stability, they work in cohesion. Consequently, if not properly addressed through some framework, may lead to long term negative implications for several socio-economic groups.  

The question therefore is, are there any plans or mandate by the government to assess the impact of the pandemic on the social and /or psychological man?  Is there a mechanism in place to address the new realities of the citizenry who were adversely affected? Many businesses will accelerate the development of automation capabilities, thereby removing some jobs from the context of human interaction and involvement, resulting in short to long term job loss.

The many universities and college students whose norms were to travel overseas to make money on the work and travel programme to cover tuition expenses for the upcoming academic year. The citizen that has been affected psychologically because of, exclusion, scorn, stigmatization, discrimination and death threat and having to go back to those communities.  This pandemic will leave many with a dependency syndrome that may result in a mental entrapment of despair.

The Jamaican citizens in their effort to control the spread of the virus has done well in following the protocols.

There now must begin a new protocol mechanism to address the possible social impacts resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic. The social man has been impacted and requires an intentional mechanism towards recovery. 

 

Simone Cunningham-Heirs

Lecturer

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