Pandemic worsens mental health and social risk among minority children – Consumer Health News


MONDAY, December 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in depression / anxiety problems and social risks among school-aged children in cities, racial and ethnic minorities compared to before pandemic, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health.

Andrea E. Spencer, MD, of Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed mental health symptoms and social risks during COVID-19 compared to before the pandemic in urban, minority school-aged children racial and ethnic. The analysis included caregivers of 168 children (aged 5 to 11) recruited from a pediatric primary care practice in a hospital setting with an urban safety net with follow-up from September 2019 to January 2021.

The researchers found that children had significantly higher levels of emotional and behavioral symptoms in the midst of the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period across the board. During the pandemic, many more children had clinical problems resulting in a positive total score on the Pediatric Symptom Checklist and an internalizing score (depression and anxiety) compared to before the pandemic. Additionally, caregivers have reported significantly more social risks during the pandemic. There was an observed correlation between mental health symptoms and the number of social risks before the pandemic, but not during the pandemic. There were also significant associations noted between less completion of schoolwork, more screen time, and caregiver depression and worse mental health amid the pandemic among children.

“These findings underscore the critical need for public health efforts to mitigate the psychosocial effects of the pandemic on children and racial and ethnic minority communities while seeking solutions to support the increased demand,” Spencer said in a statement. .

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