Teenagers and the COVID-19 pandemic — Lúcia Helena Assis Abdalla


The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions had significant effects for young people in Brazil, including those living in the poorest communities. It brought new hardships and reinvigorated old problems that had been lying dormant. This paper describes a series of interventions used to stimulate understanding about what we were all living through and how young people were responding. A co-research project called the Quarantine of Possibilities surveyed young people about what they had been doing during quarantine and their tips to make this time more fun. Their contributions were shared with others on social networks. Taking counselling online opened new possibilities as young people were able to talk about the precious objects that surrounded them in their own homes, and suggested ways to enhance our online conversations through fun activities like choosing and discussing creative background images. As the need to go beyond one-to-one online counselling became apparent, a collective conversation about this collective experience was initiated. Young people enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to share what they had been experiencing and what had supported them. They entered into externalising roleplay with Corona and his gang and penned a collective letter. In addition to opening possibilities for future collective conversations, this experience provided the basis for a set of conversation guidelines for counsellors and others wanting to reflect on the invasion of Corona in our lives.