Covid is harming the mental health of minors – Medicine

Anxiety, sleep, irritability, regression disorders: these are the psychological effects caused by the Covid pandemic on the mental health of children and adolescents. Currently 99% of them in the world are in fact experiencing various forms of limitation of their autonomy of movement, including the suspension of school attendance. And 60% live in countries with partial or total lockdowns. Effects that can be managed and reduced as soon as parents and pediatricians intervene to prevent stress from becoming toxic. To take stock is the Higher Institute of Health (Iss) which reviews various studies on the subject.

There are many researches that say that high levels of stress and isolation can influence the psycho-physical development of children and adolescents, even in the long term, weighing more on those who find themselves in situations of economic, social and educational poverty. According to a research by the Harvard University, carried out in March and last April on a sample of 3,453 individuals (for Italy, the Gaslini pediatric hospital and the University of Genoa participated) it emerged, as regards Italian families with minor children, that in 65% of children under 6 and 71% over 6 years there were behavioral problems and symptoms of regression. Under the age of 6, the most frequent disorders were increased irritability, sleep and anxiety disorders (restlessness, separation anxiety), while between 6 and 18 years of age, anxiety disorders, feelings of lack of d air and sleep. A study by the Department of Educational, Psychological and Communication Sciences of the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples conducted on 300 students found that anxiety, depression, alteration of sleep rhythms and the quantity and quality of nutrition are the main consequences on adolescents over a year of health emergency from Coronavirus.

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What can make the difference is the protective and supportive attitude of the parents in modulating the emotional reactions of their children related to stress. For this reason, underlines the Higher Institute of Health, it is important to support the role of parents, but also of teachers, involving health professionals involved in the area in health promotion and in the pediatric, psychological and neuropsychiatric fields, in collaboration with the school.

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