Mental Illnesses doubled among youth : Latest Study

 Latest study by JAMA Pediatrics, a medical journal, reveals that Anxiety and Depression has doubled among the youth globally, as compared to the pre-Covid period. The analysis was published on 9th August, 2021 after collecting empirical clinical data on depression and anxiety in East Asia, Europe, North America, Middle East, Central and South America.

As per the data given in the study, one in four adolescents worldwide, have shown symptoms of depression. While one in five youth suffer from symptoms of anxiety. The data has sparked concern among the mental health experts and psychologists. "Results from this analysis suggest that the pandemic has likely instigated a global mental health crisis in Youth" said Sheri Madigan, professor of psychology at University of Calgary. 

The mental health of youngsters was already deteriorating before the pandemic. Experts said that the mental health of children and youngsters have gotten worse with the passage of time in the pandemic. Some reasons that have made the situation worse include persistent isolation, disruption in education, and financial problems in the family. The pandemic has created conditions in which the youth feels hopeless and have accumulated a negative feeling inside them.

The closure of schools and online learning from home has adversely impacted the children. Loss of interaction with the peers, lack of support from the teachers along with chronic stress and instability in daily routine are also major contributors to mental illnesses. It has led to an increase in symptoms of depression like sadness, loss of interest in activities, difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite etc. 

An uncontrollable fear and constant worry about the health of family and friends have also affected the children and youngsters, leading to an increase in the symptoms of anxiety. According to the data, these symptoms of depression and anxiety are more prevalent in young females as compared to males. Number of females affected by mental health issues was higher than males even prior to the pandemic. 

These symptoms have affected the older children more than the younger ones. Factors like loss of interaction, along with puberty related hormonal changes have affected the elder children.  Adolescents and youngsters are the most affected age group. This can be a constraint in their personal growth as well as for the society as a whole. Mental wellbeing should be promoted among the youth before they step into adulthood. Issues related to mental health can have long lasting consequences if that persists without being properly addressed. 

Children and youngsters are finding it difficult to cope up with the disruptions in their routine in these difficult and unprecedented times of pandemic. It is important to monitor and keep a check on the mental health status of children globally with the help of data, research, and studies. The collective support from parents, teachers, researchers, medical facilities and policy makers can surely develop a better future in terms of mental health for the children and youth worldwide. 

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