The coronavirus pandemic has multiplied the pressure on kids and the brewing mental health crisis among children will have a devastating toll on them that will last for years, say experts.
A survey conducted on young people's mental health in England last year shows that one in six (16 per cent) children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder. The survey has been tracking more than 3000 children over the last four years. The oldest girls had the highest rate of mental illness.
Closure of schools, remote learning, isolation from friends and classmates, restriction on playing outdoors, having fun, and an altogether lack of socialisation results in chronic loneliness and isolation in children. Their eyesight and mental health are jeopardised for online classes, and psychiatrists now believe that it is not the education of children that is threatened but their mental health.
The crisis is not only affecting kids and their families but also the entire health care system. Parents are struggling to find help for their children since therapy sessions are also happening online in the wake of the pandemic.
Many children cited the cause of their distress as family concerns, financial problems, and the isolation felt with the lack of socialisation.
The shocking rise in abuse and violence against children reported during the lockdown is troubling. Between April to September 2020, about 285 cases of child deaths and serious abusive cases, including child sexual harassment, were reported.
Making children focus on things they can control, trying and getting kids to take "brain breaks" from the computer as well as "sensory breaks" outdoor, finding the right support system whether from a guidance counsellor or even a school resource officer, observing changes in behaviour and sleeping patterns, talking to them, providing them company and friendship, pressurising the governments of all countries to invest in creating a mental health system that's accessible to anyone who needs it, etc. are some of the steps that can be taken to prevent the mental and emotional health of children from deteriorating.