Psychological impact of COVID-19 on children
Several countries declared this COVID-19 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. Its especial psychological impact of COVID-19 on children is now a days becoming matter of concern.
Among the measures intended to reduce the spread of the virus, most schools closed, cancelled 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 . 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.As it’s caused by the coronavirus pandemic on children and adolescents, as several mental health disorders begin during childhood.
The unexpected disruption of the social fabric and norms has affected the behavioral and mental health of the public, including children.The mental health of children has been influenced by several ways.
As this unprecedented situation changed a way they typically grow, learn, play, behave, interact and manage emotions.
Psychological impact of COVID-19 on children with pre-existing psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and behavior disorders could have more adverse affects.Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide in adolescents and children.
It is well known that mental health is one of the essential parts of human development. It determines the outcome of a child’s educational attainments and the potential to live fulfilling and productive lives.
Approximately 1.1 billion students and their families have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic.
These students are experiencing further distress due to unavailability of adequate help. The attention from the trained instructors, making education more expensive for them. Their families are trying to utilise additional time, support and resources for them.
Due to the closing of schools, students interaction and communication with school mates, play, exercises and peer activities are hindered. It affects their growth, development and learning of human minds.
Children exposed to stressors. For example separation through isolation from their families and friends, seeing or being aware of critically ill members affected with coronavirus, or the passing of loved ones or even thinking of their own death from the virus can cause them to develop anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental illnesses.
Additionally, the healthy daily routines of children have been disrupted due to COVID-19. It contributes to the additional stress and sleeping difficulties that many children faces.
Uncertainty of their future ambitions, academics, personal relationships and inactivity due to the pandemic poses a significant threat to their mental well being. It’s putting them at risk of drug abuse.
All this causes fear in children because the virus threatens not just them but also their families and surroundings. When they see their parents working from home, some parents going out for work as health workers, police officials etc. leading to fear and shock.
Measures to be taken for Children mental health well being –
• It is essential to expose children to more information about COVID-19 through several sources, such as the evening news. This will make children more aware of the reason behind not only why quarantine measures were put in place.They will also learn more about what COVID-19 is.
• Parents and guardians are encouraged to speak with their children about the information they learned. It may help lessen the negativity associated with COVID-19 and quarantine.
• Children are prone to observe and family members moods during quarantine, which the children react to. Through positive parenting, parents, guardians and family members can create consistent daily routines to avoid the distress of unstructured days.
• Schools should emphasize the mental health of students by supporting and providing health organization guidelines through online lectures.
• Exercising regularly, practicing Yoga or meditation is worthy. Eating healthy, taking adequate and proper sleeping properly and avoiding alcohol or drugs is key to maintaining mental health.