Mental health of children and young people

Posted on 04/22/2022 06:00


(Credit: Scott Olson / AFP)

It is a fact that the Kovid-19 epidemic will still have many consequences for the mental and emotional health of everyone, especially children and adolescents. For two years, virtually isolated at home, away from friends, and at much-needed coexistence at school, they became more anxious, annoyed, and had problems with peers and teachers, since their main body was in captivity. , Cell phones and computer screens.

A recent study by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sওo Paulo (FMUSP) found that 36% of young people in Brazil showed signs of depression and anxiety during an epidemic. An online survey of 6,000 children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 17 found that one in three had severe stress levels that were considered necessary for an assessment.

Late last year, a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that children, adolescents and young people could experience the effects of Covid-19 on their mental health and well-being for many years to come. The latest estimates suggest that worldwide, one in seven boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have a diagnosed mental disorder. About 46,000 adolescents commit suicide each year.

Within two years of seizures caused by the epidemic, breaks with class routines, extracurricular activities, recreation, health problems at home and worries about family income, overwork or with unemployed parents, are frightening and irritating many young people. Unsafe about the future.

Earlier this month, an incident in Brazil drew attention to an unusual fact: 26 young people were suffering from a collective anxiety crisis at a state school in Recife (PE) and had to be assisted by the Mobile Emergency Care Service (Samu). Students reported restlessness such as excessive crying, shortness of breath and shivering. The episode intimidated parents and educators and raised awareness about the mental health of children and young people in the aftermath of the epidemic.

An anxiety attack is caused by some trigger. This type of disorder, which affects most children and adolescents, is characterized by perseverance and is considered the worst of the century by psychologists and psychiatrists.

Experts warn of the “second epidemic” of mental and emotional illness: anxiety, depression, hesitant eating, OCD, boredom, aggression, panic syndrome, rebellion, relationship difficulties and living and sharing space with other children.

You cannot help but think that with the control of the epidemic everything is getting back to normal. Schools and families need to find ways to help children and adolescents process their experiences of isolation, fear, loss and overcrowding. The role of schools is open to this discussion, which is so fundamental in the lives of children and young people, despite having a school schedule.

This moment requires attention to mental health, welcoming, playful moments and less curricular needs. Bringing students into this discussion so that together, parents, schools, teachers and students prioritize mental and emotional health. Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, among others, can significantly affect the health, education and future of children and adolescents with personal consequences, family and society.

As a result, epidemic control alone is not enough to reduce the number of diseases and deaths. These young people need to go further and urgently invest in mental and emotional health care, looking for an interdisciplinary approach, including society as a whole, to discuss activities for disease prevention and health promotion.

There is no priority in Brazil for mental health and its impact on the future lives of children and adolescents. Therefore, it is imperative that government authorities create programs and venues to assist parents and schools in caring for these young people so that their emotions and losses during an epidemic can be properly welcomed and addressed.

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