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Impact of the pandemic on children's mental health



Our mental health is the harmonious working of our mind, which results in a well-adjusted personality and is one of the most important aspects of health. We as individuals face a number of obstacles as we move ahead in our lives and hence our mental health too deviates from a healthy, fully functioning state to an unhealthy and disturbed state. There are a number of reasons why one must strive at achieving a healthy mental state. Being emotionally healthy promotes effectiveness and an increase in productivity in various activities at work home or at school. Being mentally healthy plays an integral role in maintaining healthy relationships and it also allows you to adapt to the various adversities of life.

We at Umang Foundation Trust actively work at providing the children and youngsters of underprivileged societies with the counseling they require. These children have been provided educated on mental health awareness since before the lockdown began too. Various mental health problems ranging from depression, self-harm, paranoia, and personality disorders are counseled and aided with utmost respect and care.


Covid and the lockdown brought with it a number of problems for the students belonging to lesser privileged societies. The sudden shift to online learning involved having constant access to electricity, the internet, and gadgets such as phones and laptops in order to continue learning. This led to a severe increase in stress levels and anxiety. The unavailability of the required resources along with difficulties in learning and understanding the material being taught online leads to a spread of stress and paranoia regarding the student’s success in school and in turn their future. The sudden switch from online learning to offline learning due to the end of the lockdown brought with it a multitude of problems too. Attending exams offline after a long online year leads to feelings of severe anxiety and a fear of failure. These are all feelings that have to be treated delicately and with care.

Over the last ten months, the pandemic of Coronavirus illness (COVID-19) has unleashed a tsunami of challenges for humanity. Despite this, it has sparked a global effort to contain the pandemic, and it has changed everyone's life by affecting family dynamics.

Many families are dealing with a persistent sense of loss, such as the loss of social networks, jobs, financial security, and the danger of losing loved ones. The quality of relationships between parents, children, and siblings has suffered as a result of this. Given their reliance on healthy family processes for a variety of developmental outcomes, it poses a considerable risk to the adjustment of India's more than 37 crore children (0-14 years).


COVID-19'S EFFECT ON FAMILY DYNAMICS:

The pandemic's social upheavals, as well as shifts in gender norms (moving closer to equal roles in the home) that characterize our new 'normal,' have resulted in increased levels of psychological discomfort, affecting the quality of parent-child relationships.

To stop the spread of COVID-19, schools across India were closed in March 2020. Children have spent more time at home than at any other time in recent memory. School closures, a lack of extracurricular and outdoor activities, changing eating and sleeping patterns, and a lack of peer time have all contributed to boredom, agony, irritation, and a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Despite the fact that a child's home should be the safest place for them, sexual, psychological, and physical abuse is on the rise.

This has erupted into an unprecedented worldwide mental health crisis, posing a unique challenge to psychological resilience around the globe. This could lead to the emergence of a "second pandemic" of mental health crises in the near future. If their parent is quarantined, children of single parents, particularly medical personnel caring for COVID-19 patients, are likely to have difficulty adjusting. The separation between parents and children, whether temporary or permanent, can have a significant mental impact.


COVID-19'S PSYCHOSOCIAL CONCERNS:

Inattention, clinginess, distraction, and fear of asking questions about the pandemic were among the most common psychosocial and behavioral disorders among children and adolescents during the epidemic, according to reports. Those who have a history of mental illness are at a significantly higher risk.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, helpline numbers for mental health counseling are witnessing a significant increase in calls, with anxiety and adjustment concerns at the top of the list. Moreover, during the COVID-19 shutdown, domestic violence in India reached a 10-year high.

As a result, the COVID-19 virus and its knock-on consequences of quarantine and state-wide lockdowns have and will continue to cause acute fear, anxiety, compulsive behaviors, paranoia, and melancholy, as well as a post-traumatic stress disorder.


PUSHING FORWARD IN THE SEARCH FOR A NEW NORMAL:

During clinical visits/teleconsultations, it is especially crucial for health care practitioners to identify children and adolescents who are at risk. Screening for the psychiatric and psychological impacts of social isolation and confinement on families is critical. Screening children at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse will entail asking direct questions about their well-being and safety at home. Suggestions for mental health resources, contact or emergency numbers, and counseling are all important interventions for families.

The current epidemic is a chronic stressor that has the potential to harm our minds and bodies, with long-term health effects. As the need of the hour, the impact of stress and hardship on physical and psychological well-being should be increasingly focused on in a pediatric clinic.

There exists a large stigma regarding mental health counseling hence becomes very important to help students deal with and tackle their negative emotions in healthy ways.

Umang Foundation Trust works at dealing with these mental health issues in various ways ranging from:

  • Individual one-on-one counseling for people to interact with expert counselors.

  • Group counseling is where a group leader interacts and discusses the problems

  • Facilitators where everybody works together to understand the common problems and discuss goals and solutions.


We at Umang foundation trust along with its volunteers continue to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness and encourage any type of assistance to aid in promoting the same.


Know More: https://www.umangfoundationtrust.org/mental-health-counselling

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