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Pandemic Linked With Mental Health Issues in Kids

(Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the mental health of children and adolescents, researchers say, based on their analysis of findings from 17 earlier studies.

The studies – published in 2020 and 2021 – found unusually high rates of anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, suicidal behavior, stress-related disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other mental health problems during the pandemic. Individual behaviors such as hobbies, praying, and listening to music were associated with positive mental health, the studies also found. “Mental health problems were more common in those with low socioeconomic status, lack of social connections and support, adverse family relationships, restricted mobility,” among other factors including school closures and “COVID-related health experiences within family or community,” said Dr. M. Mahbub Hossain of Texas A&M University, who coauthored a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

“In many places, school and community mental health resources and services became unavailable or inaccessible, making it difficult for children and adolescents to receive timely mental healthcare,” Hossain said, adding there is a need for “multipronged efforts to alleviate the immediate and future health and social consequences” of the pandemic on the mental health of children and teens.

SOURCE: medRxiv, online April 26, 2022.

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