COVID-19 and your child's mental health
Watch for signs of depression during COVID-19 and know how to support your child’s mental well-being
How is COVID-19 affecting children and teens' mental health?
"The number of children and teenagers seeking help for anxiety or depression during the pandemic is rising across the country. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the percentage of children ages 5-11 seeking mental health care at emergency departments in 2020 increased by 24% from 2019. For children ages 12-17, mental health-related emergency room visits increased 31% over the previous year."
The impact of COVID-19 on children's mental health
During childhood, sound mental health is every bit as important as physical health for achieving developmental milestones. It helps children with their emotional wellbeing and social skills.
"One thing that connects us all is that we are all going through this crisis together and doing our best to adapt to the new reality. Focus and dedication on the mental health and wellbeing of children and caregivers is just as important as taking precautions against the virus. We are in this together.”
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore
Covid-19 devastating impact on children
"Experts estimate that the global total of COVID-19 deaths could eventually reach 10 to 40 million, which will inevitably leave many children without one or both parents or other caregivers. Orphaned children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and other exploitation, including sexual exploitation, forced begging, selling goods on the streets, and other child labor. Older children often drop out of school to try to support younger siblings."
"The COVID-19 crisis also heightens the risk of online child sexual exploitation. Europol has reported that law enforcement partners are reporting “increased online activity by those seeking child abuse material,” as a result of COVID-19. Children are spending more time online due to school shutdowns, and may be anxious or lonely because of isolation and confinement, making them more vulnerable to online predators."
Full Article from Human Rights Watch is HERE
Over a million young orphans are the hidden victims of the Covid-19 pandemic
"We cannot allow any more victims, even if indirect, of this pandemic. we do not protect this generation, they run the risk of being left behind.
As children lose one or even two parents, families are often pushed further into poverty, which can mean children will drop out of school and work, to help with the family income. These children will not return to school, and will likely be trapped in a cycle of poverty.”
Bidisha Pillai, Global Policy, Advocacy & Campaigns Director for Save the Children.
He Is 16 and His Mother Died of Covid-19. What Happens To Him Now?
Children who lost their parents in the pandemic are fighting to hold on to what is left of their families.
"The sudden loss has thrust some young adults like Mr. Fryson into the unexpected role of surrogate parent, fighting to keep what is left of their families together.
“Your physical home is gone, your emotional home is gone. Then, you’re going to be put with someone you’ve never known in your life,” “That is a terrifying process for any child.”
Karen J. Freedman, the founder and executive director of Lawyers for Children, which represents children in foster care, including some whose parents died in the pandemic.
"Protecting the most vulnerable children from the impact of coronavirus: An agenda for action
Global coordination is urgently needed to prevent this health crisis from becoming a child-rights crisis.
Updated, September 21, 2020. Disruptions to society have a heavy impact on children: on their safety, their well-being, their future. Only by working together can we keep millions of girls and boys – including those facing poverty, exclusion or violence, and those upended by humanitarian crisis – healthy, safe and learning. " .. UNICEF
July/August Edition, 2021, Journal of Pediatric Health Care,
March 25, 2020 The United Nations Secretary-General has launched a Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19
"Ultimately, a vaccine will keep the novel coronavirus at bay. But the traumas inflicted by covid-19 will remain and most likely resurface. We cannot completely shield children from the consequences of this pandemic, but acknowledging its effects on their well-being and taking other meaningful actions might lessen their scars."
February 23, 2021 As COVID-19 turns more children into orphans, siblings step up to fill the void The actual number of children who've lost parents to the virus is still unknown.
"As the United States surpasses a staggering half-million deaths from COVID-19, stories like Torres’ have become far too common. A so far unknown number of children have been orphaned since the virus began killing their parents -- and so many others -- last year. Often, the responsibility to keep the family together has been placed on the eldest siblings."
"Children losing primary caregivers have higher risks of experiencing mental health problems; physical, emotional, and sexual violence; and family poverty," the team wrote. "These adverse experiences raise risks of suicide, adolescent pregnancy, infectious diseases including HIV/ AIDS, and chronic diseases."
Grandparents are more important than might initially be evident, they added. "In the USA, 40% of grandparents living with grandchildren serve as their primary caregivers; in the UK, 40% of grandparents provide regular care for grandchildren," the researchers wrote."
July 21, 2021 COVID-19 has created secret pandemic of orphans: study More than 1 million children lost a caregiver over the course of the pandemic.
"Story at a glance
More than 1 million children experienced the death of one or both parents during the first 14 months of the pandemic.
Half a million lost a grandparent who cared for them in their home.
Researchers called for urgent investments in services to support children who lost parents during the pandemic, as these children are at increased risk for mental health issues, family poverty, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse."
""In helping children and teens recover from the COVID-19 pandemic we need to come together as providers and families to identify struggles early and provide compassionate care and support. This process has only just begun, and we can expect the work to keep going as our youngest children may have effects not identified right away," said Dr. Nicole Bartek DNP, APRN, PMHNP, lead author of the study.
"From my own work and that of many others globally, we know that children who lose a parent can experience a cascade of negative consequences3. In one study, for example, we found that children in sub-Saharan Africa who lost both parents were 50% more likely to experience sexual abuse than were non-orphaned children4. Many children develop depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of a parent’s death5. If unaddressed, these disorders can persist for years, and might worsen as orphaned adolescents reach young adulthood6. Orphans are also more likely to drop out of school and to become stuck in a cycle of poverty7. One study found that their risk of suicide was twice that of peers who hadn’t experienced a parent’s death; the risk remained elevated for 25 years following such a death8."