How has covid affected children’s mental health

                                <h2 id="story-summary-0">A study examining the mental health of children and young adults before and after the coronavirus found that the pandemic affected them across a range of areas</h2>
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                                        The first comprehensive study examining research on the mental health of children and young people using evidence from before and during COVID-19 has discovered an impact on mental health that could lead to increased demand for support services.

The research, which was led by the University of Exeter and the University of Cambridge, is the first of its kind to examine research containing information on young people’s mental health before and during the pandemic. The study gives more insight into changes in the mental health of children and young people of different ages around the world during the pandemic.

The study has been published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry It was funded by the National Institute for Health Care Research (NIHR) with some support from the NIHR PenARC. The researchers put together 51 studies that looked at how the pandemic is affecting young people’s mental health across a range of areas. Crucially, these studies included baseline mental health information collected before the pandemic rather than relying on retrospective perceptions of change.

Also read: When you take a day off for your mental health

The demand for fast-paced research amid the evolving pandemic has meant that the standard of studies has been variable, with only four studies being rated as high quality.

While the evidence points to some deterioration in some aspects of mental health, in general, results have been mixed, with no clear pattern emerging. There have been mixed results from studies that measured the same type of mental health difficulty in different ways, suggesting that the effects were not general and dependent on the circumstances and contexts of children, youth, and families. The researchers say the overall effect is large enough to result in an increase in demand for services.

Study author Dr Tamsin Neolove-Delgado from the University of Exeter said: “The pandemic has affected the lives of children and young people all over the world, and we’ve heard a lot of talk about its impact on mental health. Our review of research in the field provides further evidence that already-extended services are likely to There is an increase in demand but things may not be as bad for everyone as some of the headlines show.However, even a small change in each child’s mental health symptoms could mean that, on a societal level, a large number of children are shifting from proper management to needing Some professional support. Children and young people must be prioritized in pandemic recovery, and clearly taken into account when planning any future response to the pandemic.”

The researchers found some evidence of worsening across a range of broader measures of mental health, such as an increase in general problems with behaviour, emotions or anxiety, as well as finding plenty of studies that reported no change and some reports of improvement in mental health. .

The paper highlights that research in this area is particularly difficult to interpret, because developmental mental health problems become more common in adolescence than in childhood. This makes it difficult to assess to what extent the negative effects found are due to the older children in the studies or are actually related to the epidemic.

Co-author Professor Tamsin Ford, from the University of Cambridge, said: “Studying all children and young people means our research may not capture differences between groups who may have done better or worse during an epidemic. For example, other research has found that some children and young people report poorer sleep. And eat better during lockdown, or find it easier to access distance education where they can work at their own pace. Peers.”

Study author Dr Abigail Russell, from the University of Exeter, said: “The race for answers during a pandemic means a lot of research is done quickly, using opportunistic samples, for example, by asking people in online surveys what they think their children have been affected. Mental health is affected by the pandemic, which unfortunately means that research quality in general is very poor, and even the studies we included in our review with information from before the pandemic were generally not of high quality.

“This may be partly due to the pressure to quickly publish research on the pandemic and its impacts. As a research community, we urgently need to do better for our young people struggling with their mental health, to understand the impact on them and their families, and to direct support where needed. In the long term, researchers must funders and policy makers a more coherent approach to supporting and conducting high-quality research.”

Also read: When having a community is the key to mental health

The study is titled ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Psychopathology in Children and Youth Worldwide: A Systematic Review of Studies with Pre- and Within-Pandemic Data’, published in Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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