- With the epidemic of coronavirus in Europe and the United States, parents worry about the health and mental health of their children.
- A report from the National Institutes of Health in the United Kingdom expanded hope. Research has found that while distance learning, students’ mental health is improving.
- Parents will continue to play an important role in supporting the mental health of their children.
Shine under pressure
During the pandemic lockdown, the UK’s depression risk score decreased.
Image source: NIHR
The “Mental health of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic” report surveyed more than 1,000 9th grade students (13-14 years old) in the UK. This ongoing study aims to document the relationship between social media use and adolescents’ mental health. Because the study participants conducted a preliminary survey in October 2019, the researchers were able to compare the students’ pre-pandemic baseline with their response after a few months of lock-in. (The school closed in the UK in mid-March; follow-up investigations were completed in April and May.)
Researchers have found that the mental health of British teenagers has improved surprisingly during these difficult times. Although 90% of students think COVID-19 is a serious problem, their answers indicate that their anxiety risk has been reduced overall, their happiness has improved, and their risk of depression has not changed significantly.
The greatest improvement was seen among students with poor mental health. In October last year, the Warwick-Edinburgh Happiness Scale of students with low happiness scores improved by 10 points; at the same time, there was no significant change from the previous average to higher happiness scores. Students at risk of anxiety and depression also showed little improvement in the scores of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The only group that showed an increased risk of depression was girls, and the difference was small.
What caused the spiritual improvement of young British people? Although this study did not attempt to answer this question, the researchers speculated that this may be “due to the elimination of stressors in the school environment, such as the pressure of academic work, and challenges to peer relationships including bullying.”
Another possibility is that the cohort’s pandemic stressors are more concentrated externally. They listed the three most worrying points, worrying that their friends or family members might get the disease, worrying about the mental health of friends and family members, and worrying about being out of school. Few people worry about the impact of an infectious disease or blockade on their friendship, job prospects or the entire economy.
Maintain critical connections
Researchers also asked about the connection between students and school, peers and family. Students report that connections with the school have increased, and relationships with friends and family have not changed. Those with the lowest connection scores in the baseline survey again saw the greatest increase in happiness scores and anxiety reduction scores. And, of course, the use of social media is already huge.
The researchers wrote: “As schools fully reopen, it is important to consider ways to prevent anxiety from returning to pre-pandemic levels.”
However, this study has limitations, and we should be careful not to extrapolate these data too broadly. Researchers point out that younger children have less access to social media than their older peers, and important social interactions are not as easy as digitalization. The text and emoji on the playground cannot be translated into the same level of loyalty as a restaurant. As a result, young children may be experiencing a completely different pandemic. For young people who are in transition in their lives, this may also be true.
Researchers have not seen the same improvement in disadvantaged student groups (such as LGBTQ youth and students with disabilities). These students reported higher anxiety and depression scores before the pandemic, and did not see the same improvement in the pandemic follow-up survey. This result shows the researchers that even if they are not in school, these students will continue to be under pressure.
Finally, there is no sign that young people in other countries will also face this pandemic. In countries with weak social safety nets such as the United States, students may be more concerned about the impact of the virus on their health and future prospects.
Love in the COVID era
The National Institutes of Health report shows that adolescents are more resilient than the recognition given by adults, but its findings are based on student reactions in the months since the pandemic. Unfortunately, unless we are experienced, we will not know how distance education and long shutdowns will affect them. This reality means that parents still play a vital role in supporting their children’s mental health.
Parents seeking strategies can find resources on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other health agencies. Generally, experts recommend that young people follow routine activities that support learning, exercise, and socializing. This timetable should guide them to achieve their goals, participate in their interests and participate in social activities, even if these social activities must be conducted online.
Yes, the screening time will increase, but parents need to remember that not all screening times are the same. The time dedicated to playing board games with friends is different from the time spent casually wandering between social media waste. Parents still need to stay within the boundaries and have regular conversations with teenagers about the coronavirus and pandemic information they receive.
As Nilu Rahman, a senior child life expert at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, said: “Teenagers have good access to the Internet, and some of the reports they read about the coronavirus and pandemic may frighten them, even if they don’t Put it like this…” Rahman added: “Parents should make sure that their children don’t fall into the rabbit hole, and don’t be confused or frightened by false information.”
Parents should also be alert to changes in behavior, as this may indicate increased stress or other potential mental health problems. Rahman advises parents to pay attention to extreme eating habits, changes in sleep patterns, signs of self-harm, increased loneliness, or children’s dislike of favorite hobbies and past times.
She said: “Parents know their children best, so if a teenager’s situation seems to have changed, they should trust their instincts to find out what is happening, especially if the child has a history of depression or anxiety.”
Articles from your website
Related articles online