The Government of Belgium , a country with some of the toughest restrictions against the pandemic in the European Union , announced this Tuesday that it will fully subsidize eight sessions of psychological therapy for the self-employed who are suffering from the crisis of the pandemic.
“The priority continues to be public aid for the self-employed, but the need for a solution for mental health has also been revealed ,” explained the Self-Employed Minister, David Clarinal, to the Belgian media LN24 and RTBF. In addition, a psychological help line has been set up, to which not only the self-employed affected can go, but also those who want to alert about the emotional state of an acquaintance.
The mental health pandemic
The unrest among the population over the Belgian government’s restrictions is on the rise, as indicated by a survey published this Tuesday on covid-19 from the Belgian public health research institute Sciensano.
63% of those surveyed state that they feel dissatisfied with their current social contact (a maximum of four people abroad and one at home) and 29% declare that they feel “very lonely”, which for Lydia Gisle, a researcher at Sciensano, is proof of that “social unrest translates into feelings of loneliness .”
“The population is still destabilized and very subject to psychological stress,” Gisle explains in a statement, pointing out that one in four Belgian adults suffers from anxiety or depression disorders.. In addition, one in four Belgians (26%) have had suicidal thoughts , while 7% admit that they even tried to take their own life on some occasion.
Belgian measures, the hardest
Today, Belgian restrictions are among the toughest on the continent, since the closure of all the hotel industry in November and the curfew at 22:00, was added in January the ban on entering or leaving the country without an essential and proven reason, and in March the closure of schools and contact businesses.
The outdoor “social bubble”, that is, the number of people who can meet in parks or on the street, is limited to four, although last March there was a one-week oasis in which this limit was increased to ten, which had to be reduced again due to the increase in infections and hospital pressure.
These measures, added to others such as social distancing or the prohibition of inviting more than one person home (which are the least complied with, according to Sciensano), mean that the number of people who do not comply with the restrictions has increased since the survey from December to the present, whose questionnaire was carried out between March 18 and 25. Of those who do not comply, 49% are justified in that the measures are “too strict”, while 67% consider them too cautious with respect to the spread of the virus.
This Wednesday the Belgian Government’s Conciliation Committee is scheduled to meet to study a possible relaxation of the measures, after the reduction in infections by 20% in the period between April 3 and 9, according to the data. of Sciensano.
Last January, the Belgian public television, RTBF, agreed to limit the volume of information it broadcast daily about the coronavirus to try to compensate for the pandemic fatigue of citizens. Thus he promised that the information on the covid-19 does not exceed 50% of the total news broadcast.