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How Mental Health of Kids is Affected Due to COVID-19 Pandemic?

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, and was later reported to have spread throughout the world to create a global pandemic. As of August 18th, 2020, the coronavirus had spread to more than 216 countries with at least 21,756,357 confirmed cases, resulting in 771,635 deaths globally. Several countries declared this pandemic as a national emergency, forcing millions of people to go into lockdown. This unexpected imposed social isolation has caused enormous disruption of daily routines for the global community, especially children. Among the measures intended to reduce the spread of the virus, most schools closed, canceled classes, and moved it to home-based or online learning to encourage and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Education and learnings of 67.6% of students are impacted globally due to coronavirus in 143 countries. The transition away from physical classes has significantly disrupted the lives of students and their families, posing a potential risk to the mental well-being of children. An abrupt change in the learning environment and limited social interactions and activities posed an unusual situation for children’s developing brains. It is essential and obligatory for the scientific community and healthcare workers to assess and analyze the psychological impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic on children and adolescents, as several mental health disorders begin during childhood.

During this pandemic, children and their families have been exposed to direct or indirect factors that could pose stress and emotional disturbance. Several weeks of homestay has forced parents and/or caregivers to work from home. Also, many families lost their financial independence due to job losses. This disease is installing fear in children because children are worried about not only getting infected but also having their parents staying at home and not leaving for work. Some families are struggling to feed their children, as many were dependent on school programs or food stamps, and not all families with resources can provide adequate supplies. However, the reach of the pandemic is unequal as numerous families have lost loved ones while others live in regions untouched by the virus. Some children have parents who work on the front lines in COVID-19 settings, and others have parents who now work from home or have recently been terminated.

Additionally, international students are impacted by uncontrollable factors such as school closure, campus closure, and travel restrictions. Nations across the globe have restricted their borders to internationals to help mitigate the pandemic as many students might not have any other place to reside. This sudden closure of many nations to outsiders has placed a great burden on school administrators to ensure housing, sustenance, and safety of their international students. While transitioning to online classes has helped both international and national students to continue their education, several children and faculty members are experiencing distress because they may not have the technological capability or expertise required to navigate this new mode of interaction. The online teaching method has raised questions for the faculty about their capability to deal with the existing technology.

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