Research reveals link between mental health issues in kids and pandemic

The mental health of children and adolescents has been badly impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to researchers based on their analysis of findings from 17 earlier studies. As per the studies – published in 2020 and 2021, mental health problems during the pandemic ranged from depression, sleep disorders, suicidal behavior, high rates of anxiety, stress-related disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among others.

The studies also noted that hobbies, praying and listening to music were individual behaviors which had a positive impact on mental health.

“Mental health problems were found in those kids which had low socio-economic status. Among other factors, which led to mental health issues were lack of social connections and support, adverse family relationships and restricted mobility including school closures,” according to Dr. M. Mahbub Hossain of Texas A&M University, who co-authored a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.

“It was also difficult for children and adolescents to receive timely mental healthcare due to inaccessibility to school and community mental health resources and services,” Hossain said.

He further added that 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. Survey results also suggested that fewer than 2% of non-hospitalized high-risk patients with COVID-19 are receiving drugs that can limit the extent of their illness.

In March 2022, researchers recruited 1,159 people from 37 states who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 on PCR tests and asked whether they knew about or had taken effective treatments for the virus, such as monoclonal antibodies or oral antiviral drugs Molnupiravir or Paxlovid.

Among the 241 individuals older than 65 at risk for severe COVID-19, 66% were aware of treatments and 36.3% had sought them, but only 1.7% reported use of such drugs, according to a report posted on medRxiv.
Fewer patients were aware of the treatments and had sought them among patients under 65. Rates of use were barely higher than among the older group.

“More awareness of effective medicines for COVID-19 among the public and healthcare workers is needed to prevent serious disease and death,” said study leader Dr. Noah Kojima of the University of California, Los Angeles.

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