Consequences of the corona pandemic: Lockdown makes children mentally ill

In 2020 alone, children around the world will have to live with lockdowns for months on average. A study shows how much the corona measures burden the youngest. More than 13,000 children are questioned – the majority reported an increase in negative feelings.

According to a recent study, the policy of corona lockdowns has led to significantly more diseases in children worldwide. This was reported by the aid organization Save the Children, citing data from the “Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Trackers”. There has been an increase in cases of depression, anxiety, loneliness and even self-harm. The survey results of more than 13,000 children in 46 countries were taken into account.

83 percent of children reportedly reported an increase in negative feelings due to the pandemic. These feelings became much more pronounced in the majority of children (96 percent) after schools had been closed for more than 17 weeks. In the industrialized countries up to 50 percent of mental illnesses remain untreated, in the developing countries it is even between 76 percent and 85 percent.

Marie Dahl, Head of Mental Health at Save the Children, said the corona measures were important to contain the spread of Covid-19. But social isolation can cause anxiety and depression in children. “If there is no reaction here, long-term consequences can arise – even if the restrictions are lifted.”

An average of 184 days with restrictions

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, children have lived under legal closings or restrictions on an average of 184 days, it said. In high-income countries like Canada, some children had to stay at home for a total of 13 months (402 days), it said. In Europe it was an average of nine months. In India, children spent at least 100 days at home.

But the irregularity of the online lessons also resulted in disrupted routines, as Save the Children reported on the occasion of World Mental Health Day on Sunday. This also affects social interactions and their sleep and thus the well-being of the children. All governments are urged to prioritize and invest in children’s mental health and regulated learning during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.