Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on YOUTH.
The COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most significant global catastrophes in centuries, has had significant and far-reaching effects on health systems, economics, and civilizations. Numerous people have lost their jobs. Communities and families have become strained and fractured.
The mental health of people has been significantly impacted as a result of these health, social, and economic effects. Many of us experienced increased anxiety, but for some COVID-19 has precipitated or exacerbated much more severe mental health issues. Many people have expressed psychological suffering as well as signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or despair. Additionally, there have been troubling indications of a larger suicide.
It’s been estimated that over 200 million people were affected by the pandemic, and since then there has been a significant decrease in population across the world, with many countries seeing a 90% drop in their population. And as the world grapples with the impact of COVID-19, the mental health of young people and students is increasingly coming into focus. There is a growing concern that the stress of the pandemic could lead to long-term mental health issues for those who are already vulnerable. It is therefore more important than ever to ensure that young people and students have access to the support they need.
CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF QUARANTINE AND HOME ISOLATION ON YOUTH
After-effects of quarantine and home isolation are one of the most important issues in the investigation of the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the period when COVID-19 started to emerge and spread, the education process of the youth continued and their classes were moved to online mode. In India, around 250 million students were affected due to school closures at the onset of the lockdown induced by COVID-19. Because of the rapid spread of the epidemic and the increase in deaths in many countries, young people stopped their education and stayed in their homes. Therefore, the possibility of loneliness and depression increased in young people whose education process was negatively affected, and their social relations were disrupted.
Due to the development of technology, compared to other age groups young people can be exposed to negative flows caused by the COVID-19 epidemic around the world through the internet and social media. This situation can be claimed to decrease relationships and life satisfaction. Although they could continue their social relations through the internet and social media applications, they will not be as healthy and high quality as social relations established face to face.
A recent research study was done on COVID-19 and its impacts on youth mental health by NIH showed that many longitudinal studies made a concerning observation on specific mental health conditions. Multiple studies suggested that some depressive symptoms and internalizing disorders (e.g., mood and anxiety disorders) in youth may have increased during the early phase of COVID-19 appearing with some signs of recovery during the summer of 2021. Though there is evidence describing changes in anxiety symptoms appear more mixed after the reopening of the schools.
Even a mixed-method study conducted during post and pre-pandemic highlighted the increase in parents reporting externalizing symptoms, particularly tantrums, disobedience and attitude issues. Similarly, it also states that among youth ages 7 years -15 years old showed that the increase in these symptoms seen in many children was high because of the lower level of social interaction and support from peers and parents. While many specialists noticed and voiced their concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on youth and adolescents and suicide attempts.
A recent study published by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in august 2022 reported an increase in rates of death by suicide by 7.2% in comparison to the previous years in terms of total.
The fight against COVID-19 and mental health is still going on so here are some recommendations for the youth and parents:
• First of all, families should create an environment of trust in which the children can easily express their feelings and thoughts such as spending time with your kids, using affirmations, trying to be their friend, etc.
• To teach children how to express themselves through their traits and skills, ways such as drawing, playing games, singing music, painting, dancing, etc. can be used.
• Children learn a lot of behaviours from their parents through observation. Hence, parents need to demonstrate cognitive, behavioural, or emotional responses that could be model for their children.
• To continue the social relationships that children need, the activities such as playing games at home, watching popular movies and videos, reading books/ joining a reading club, inviting friends over, etc. may be suggested.
• To cope with the feelings of loneliness, despair, and pessimism that may have arisen after the isolation at home, they need to maintain their social relationships, and if needed parents or guardians should provide them with Tele-counselling or one on one counselling expert who deals with intense stress issues.
• To reduce the negative psychological effects that the isolation status of the home may cause over time, relaxing exercises (such as yoga, mindful meditation, tai chi, walking, etc.) or sports activities, like, swimming, tennis, cycling, team sports, running, or any other sports they are interested in will help
We are all living through uncertain times, but that doesn’t mean we have to get washed away in the sadness and hopelessness of it all. The day isn’t over. There is still time to live a life that is aligned with our true happiness. We can decide who we wish to be after this pandemic, and we can start to build that life for ourselves. Though doing that requires looking at things differently and committing to our truths and positive, mindful action. And also, it’s very important to remember that you’re not alone in this – there are millions of other people around the world going through the same thing. And there is help available if you’re struggling. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. And if you need professional help, there are mental health professionals who can support you.
Bo, H., Li, W., Yang, Y., Wang, Y., Zhang, Q., Cheung, T., & Xiang, Y. (2020). Posttraumatic stress symptoms and attitude toward crisis mental health services among clinically stable patients with COVID-19 in China. Psychological Medicine, 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720000999
Burgess, S., & Sievertsen, H. H. (2020). Schools, skills, and learning: The impact of COVID-19 on education. CEPR Policy Portal.
Akat, Muhammed & Karataş, Kasım. (2020). Psychological Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Society and Its Reflections on Education. 15. 1-13. 10.7827/TurkishStudies.44336.
Tishelman, C., Degen, J. L., Weiss Goitiandía, S., Kleijberg, M., & Kleeberg-Niepage, A. (2022). A Qualitative Serial Analysis of Drawings by Thirteen-to Fifteen-Year-Old Adolescents in Sweden About the First Wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Qualitative Health Research. https://doi.org/10.1177_10497323221101978