Mental Health

Impacts of COVID-19

Even before COVID-19, children and young people were troubled by mental health disorders that were not addressed properly. Impacts of COVID-19 are really crucial in poor mental health young people and children.

Impacts of COVID-19 in children

Impacts of COVID-19 in children and young people are crucial. Globally, more than one in every seven teenagers aged 10 to 19 is expected to have a documented mental condition, according to the most recent available estimates. Every year, about 46,000 adolescents commit suicide, making it one of the top five causes of mortality for their age group. Meanwhile, there are still significant financing gaps between mental health requirements and available resources. Globally, about 2% of government health funds are committed to mental health spending, according to the research.

“It has been a long time for all of us – especially children. With nationwide lockdowns and pandemic-related movement restrictions, children have spent indelible years of their lives away from family, friends, classrooms, and play key elements of childhood.

Even before the pandemic, far too many children were burdened under the weight of unaddressed mental health issues. Too little investment is being made by governments to address these critical needs. Not enough importance is being placed on the relationship between mental health and future life outcomes.”

 

Children’s mental health during COVID-19

The pandemic has taken a toll undoubtedly. According to UNICEF and Gallup’s findings from an international study of children and adults in 21 countries – which is previewed in The State of the World’s Children 2021 – a median of 1 in 5 young people aged 15–24 surveyed stated they regularly feel depressed or feel discouraged in doing things.

Impacts of COVID-19

As COVID-19 enters its third year, the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of children and young people continues to be significant. According to the most recent data, at least one in every seven children has been directly affected by lockdowns, and more than 1.6 billion children have lost some education. Many young people are terrified, furious, and worried about their future because of disruptions in their routines, education, and recreation, as well as concerns about family income and health. For example, according to an online survey conducted in China in early 2020 and mentioned in The State of the World’s Children, around a third of respondents said they were terrified or anxious.

ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia are all mental disorders that can have a substantial impact on a child’s or young person’s health, education, life outcomes, and earning capability.

 

Protective factors

Parenting, schooling, quality of relationships, exposure to violence or abuse, discrimination, poverty, humanitarian crises, and health catastrophes like COVID-19 all shape and affect children’s mental health throughout their lives, according to studies.

While protective factors like loving caregivers, safe school environments, and positive peer relationships can help reduce the risk of mental disorders, the report warns that significant barriers, such as stigma and a lack of funding, are preventing too many children from having a positive mental health or receiving the help they require.

The State of the World’s Children 2021 calls on governments, as well as public and private sector partners, to commit, communicate, and act to promote mental health for all children, adolescents, and caregivers, as well as to protect those who are in need of assistance and to care for the most vulnerable, including:

  • Urgent investment in child and adolescent mental health across sectors, not just in health, to support a whole-of-society approach to prevention, promotion, and care.
  • Integrating and scaling up evidence-based interventions across health, education and social protection sectors – including parenting programs that promote responsive, nurturing caregiving and support parent and caregiver mental health; and ensuring schools support mental health through quality services and positive relationships.
  • Breaking the silence surrounding mental illness, through addressing stigma and promoting a better understanding of mental health, and taking seriously the experiences of children and young people.

Physical and mental health are intertwined. We can’t afford to keep looking at it that way. We have seen much too little awareness and investment in a vital component of maximizing every child’s potential for far too long, in both rich and poor countries. This must be changed. Impacts of COVID-19 must be observed and looked after.