COVID-19 has brought about a complex array of factors (uncertainty, social isolation, and parental angst) that have an impact on the mental health of children and adolescents. Predictability is a stabilizing force for children and adolescents, but it has been disrupted since the COVID-19 outbreak. Today, 99% of the world’s children are living under some form of pandemic-related limit on movement; 60% live in countries under full or partial lockdowns and 1.5 billion children are out school. This is especially tragic for the poorest children, who rely on school feeding programmes for their only consistent daily meal.
Younger children are at great risk, as high levels of stress and isolation can affect brain development, sometimes with irreparable long-term consequences. Many children and young people are also contending with family separations, caring for sick relatives and even the death of loved ones. Girls are particularly affected, with containment measures resulting in increased gender-based violence, child pregnancy and even child marriage. All this while taking on increased responsibility for household chores and caring for relatives.
In an online survey, 8079 junior and senior high school students in China completed assessments about depressive and anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 epidemic period. Using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD -7) questionnaire. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 43.7%, anxiety symptoms 37.4%, and both depressive and anxiety 31.3%. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were higher in females, and with increasing grade level from junior to senior high. Students without depressive and anxiety symptoms had more knowledge about preventive and control measures, as compared to those students with depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Mental health of children was assessed during the lockdown in Bangladesh via an online survey of 384 parents with children aged 5 to15 years. Children’s depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder scores were grouped into severity categories. Severity and percentages of mental health problems in the children were as follows: subthreshold (43%), mild (30.5%), moderate (19.3%), and severe (7.2%).
The emotional impact of the COVID-19 quarantine was assessed for children and adolescents from Italy and Spain.4 Participants included 1143 parents of children aged 3 to 18 years who completed a survey about the effects of the quarantine on their children, compared to before the home confinement period. The study found 85.7% of parents reported changes in their children’s emotions and behaviors during the quarantine. The most frequently observed changes were difficulty concentrating (76.6%), boredom (52%), irritability (39%), restlessness (38.8%), nervousness (38%), loneliness (31.3%), uneasiness (30.4%), and worries (30.1%). About 75% of parents reported feeling stressed about the quarantine situation. Parental stress was associated with increased reports of emotional and behavioral symptoms in their children (htt1).
In case, you feel that the child has been facing problems or have some mental anxiety or concerns it is a must to reach out to a mental or psychological health professional. Serene Retreat is one of the leading Addiction and Mental Health Treatment provider based in Malaysia with its branches locally and abroad which is working for the betterment of the people and working on their treatment processes with all the SOPs in practice and continue to bring healthy positive changes in their lifestyles. For more information about our treatment programs you can reach us via Call/Whatsapp +60 14-687 2268 or visit our website www.sereneretreat.com.my.