UNICEF warns the impact of COVID-19 on poor mental health in children and youth

UNICEF warns the impact of COVID-19 on poor mental health in children and youth

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DILI, 06 october 2021 (TATOLI)- The United Nations Children Emergency Fund(UNICEF) warned the world to be aware with the impact of covid-19 to the children’s health including youth, saying COVID-19 can affect the mental health of Children including youth and well-being for years to come.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said according to the latest available estimates, more than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10-19 years are estimated to be living with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Nearly 46,000 adolescents die by suicide each year, among the top five causes of death for their age group.

Meanwhile, there is still a wide gap between mental health needs and mental health funding. The report found that about 2 percent of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending globally.

“It has been a very long time, 18 months for all of us – especially the kids. With national lockdowns and movement restrictions related to the pandemic, children have spent the indelible years of their lives away from family, friends, classrooms, play is a key element of childhood itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore via Letter press release from UNICEF today.

The impact is significant that even before the pandemic, too many children were burdened by unresolved mental health issues. Too little investment is being made by the government to meet this critical need. Not enough importance is placed on the relationship between mental health and future life outcomes.

Indeed, the pandemic has taken its toll. According to preliminary findings from an international survey of children and adults in 21 countries conducted by UNICEF and Gallup – previewed in The State of the World’s Children 2021 – an average of 1 in 5 young people aged 15–24 years surveyed said that they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing something.

As COVID-19 enters its third year, the impact on the mental health and well-being of children and youth continues to weigh. According to the latest data available from UNICEF, globally, at least 1 in 7 children have been directly affected by lockdowns, while more than 1.6 billion children suffer from the loss of education.

Disruption of routines, education, recreation, and concern for family income and health, makes many young people feel afraid, angry, and worried about their future.

Diagnosed mental disorders, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, behavioral disorders, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia, can significantly harm the health, education, life outcomes, and earning capacities of children and young people.

State of the World’s Children 2021 calls for governments, and public and private sector partners, to commit, communicate and act to promote mental health for all children, youth and caregivers, protect those in need, and care for the most vulnerable, including :

Urgent investment in child and adolescent mental health across sectors, not just in health, to support whole-of-society approaches to prevention, promotion and care.

“Mental health is a subset of physical health – we can’t keep looking at it the other way around,” Fore says. “For too long, in rich and poor countries, we have seen too little understanding and too little investment in the essential elements for maximizing every child’s potential. This needs to change.”




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