Due to the confinement imposed by the covid-19 pandemic, “young people stayed at home, ate more and gained weight. Others started on restrictive diets because they had put on a lot of weight”, said Maria de São José Tavares to Lusa.
According to the doctor, these are the most evident situations in adolescents who currently turn to Aparece– Saúde Jovem, a space created 21 years ago by the Government at the Sete Rios Health Center, in Lisbon, so that adolescents could have a space dedicated exclusively to their problems and could share all their doubts in a space of confidentiality and privacy.
“Aparece has played a very important role, and it will continue to have it, in this pandemic phase”, and at this moment 90 percent of the consultations are by teleconsultation: “Every day, eight to nine teenagers with whom we are most concerned are contacted.”
Pregnant women have always been assisted in person, as well as young people who appear “without an appointment”.
For the coordinator of Aparece, the impact of this pandemic on society is enormous: “We have a lot of teenagers whose parents are unemployed” and, therefore, pointing out that it is necessary to give them attention and not to take “the energy out of a service that is so important".
At the moment, there are 3,500 adolescents enrolled in Aparece, half of which from the Grouping of Health Centres (ACES) Lisboa Norte and the rest from other groups in the Metropolitan Area of ??Lisbon.
“We have at least 30 new teenagers per month. With the pandemic we had a decrease, which has to do with the environmental and social context”, she noted, hoping that the face-to-face consultations will reopen in September.
“Teenagers will come out of this pandemic with so many weaknesses, with so many added fears, with so many impossibilities to make up for this whole period in which they were confined".
For these reasons, the coordinator of the association defended that “it is necessary to be very attentive to their needs and avoid creating new barriers in accessing the Aparece adolescent care centre.