|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 112-113
Child and Adolescent Mental Health during COVID-19 Pandemic
Radhakrishnan Govindan, Rajalakshmi Ramu
Department of Nursing, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
|Date of Submission||16-Oct-2020|
|Date of Decision||24-Oct-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||28-Oct-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||08-Feb-2021|
Dr. Radhakrishnan Govindan
Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, NIMHANS, Bangalore, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Govindan R, Ramu R. Child and Adolescent Mental Health during COVID-19 Pandemic. Indian J Psy Nsg 2020;17:112-3
The World's Health Organization announced COVID-19 as a pandemic disease in March 2020. This pandemic has shaken the world, created fear, panic, and confusion among nations. Migration, lockdowns, economic instability, and loss of livelihood have compounded the issues. The situation has changed and challenged the health-care system and created a heavy burden on health-care professionals, especially doctors and nurses. This pandemic left us with many unanswered questions that also led to new norms, protocols, changes in priority, change in health, and educational policy. Physical and mental health risks have been increased.
The schools and universities were closed and classes are converted to online. The impact of COIVD-19 is evident; children are kept homebound, isolated, and restricted to play, especially outdoor. Online classes have increased screen time and adjustment issues at home. Subsequently, these changes brought psychological problems and important consequences progressively in terms of mental illnesses including stress, anxiety, irritability, depression, frustration, suicidal thoughts, and exacerebration of behavioural issues among the children having developmental issues.,,
It is identified that the majority of online sites are not supported in routine educational activities. Hence, the children with blind or the disorders of hearing who are taught with the help of special technologies face a lot of challenges in learning through online. Together with this, being confined to home during the pandemic leads to an elevated level of frustration and helplessness in such children. Children with existing mental and physical defects are at greater risk due to this current COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Children from underprivileged society, tribal areas, and remote villages could not avail the benefit of online classes due to financial constraints and Internet connectivity issues. This situation had put the children and adolescents in stress. There are incidences of suicide among adolescents due to lack of resources to avail the gadgets and lack of understanding of the subjects taught online.
A lot of mental health disorders are expected if early identification and intervention services are not provided appropriately. Hence, it is very much important to do early screening and identification of mental health issues among children and adolescents, further identified children need to be referred for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation by a team with the family.
The priority of emergency mental health care in children is very much diluted due to other immediate priority in a general medical emergency and lack of awareness about mental health and illness among general health-care professionals including nurses., Understanding how COVID-19 situations are linked with mental health and illness is important, identification of early sign of mental illness and other psychological issues, assessment of mental illnesses/symptoms, psychological and psychiatric first aids and simple nursing managements and counseling, quick referrals and follow up are the assigned roles and responsibilities of all the nurses and community health workers.
In conclusion, it is understood that the mental health of children and adolescents is affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. Equipping our children to face these challenges is essential. The use of technology in education may promote connectivity and reduces loneliness but to be used with caution/under supervision. Nurses have a definite role in the identification, early intervention, referrals, and follow-up. To enhance the nurse's roles and responsibilities and prevent and reduce the negative impacts of COVID-19 on children's and adolescent's mental health, governments and nongovernmental organizations should take initiation to train all the health-care workers/paramedics, community health officers/nurses, Accredited Social Health Activists workers, Anganwadi/Balwadi workers teachers, community leaders, youth, and women associations about early signs and symptoms of mental illness in children and adolescents and how to identify and provide early intervention for them.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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