Mental health

By Alliance for Natural Health International
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Media reports and social media posts reflect the impact of lockdowns on young people. Many are on the verge of giving up as they see their futures destroyed before their eyes. Over 1.5 billion children globally have been impacted by school closures since April 2020. It may have been less than a year, but for children and young people it feels like a lifetime already.

Not only have school closures and lockdowns separated young people from their friends, they’ve also been parted from their grandparents, wider family and communities. The very support networks on which they rely. The comfort of hugs and squeezes are a distant memory for too many. Video calls a poor substitute.

One of the biggest impacts for many children and adolescents has been the loss of face-to-face schooling. This is the first generation of young kids who’ve been forced to adopt online learning. Something many children are struggling to cope with. Lack of suitable tech, space in which to study at home, support from parents, reduced access to support services for those with special educational needs and school lunches for others. Being at home can mean many distractions that are far more attractive than schoolwork, making it that bit harder to knuckle down.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. For some, lockdown has been a positive experience that has resulted in a reduction in stress levels as pressure to achieve at school is lifted, less bullying and negative peer pressure. Yet for others it has increased levels of anxiety, depression, irritability, boredom, inattention, fostered a fear of illness and worsened existing mental health issues.

Increased screen-time due to online learning is impacting young children’s health in multiple ways while lockdowns and lack of schooling have led to a substantial rise in anti-social behaviors as young people find other outlets to vent their frustrations.

Sadly, for many young people the loss of their support networks has left them believing suicide is their only way of dealing with their distress. In Las Vegas, the rapid increase in the number of young people committing suicide has pushed authorities to reopen schools.

For others, being at home can be a terrifying ordeal due to the abuse they suffer at the hands of the very adults who should be protecting them as they no longer have the safety of school. Many adults may also be suffering from the effects of the pandemic restrictions.