The State of the World’s Kids 2021: On My Thoughts: selling, defending and caring for youngsters’s psychological well being – World

Effects of COVID-19 on Poor Mental Health of Children and Adolescents “Tip of the Iceberg”

New analysis shows that the contribution to economies is lost to an estimated nearly $ 390 billion a year due to mental health problems in young people

October 04, 2021

NEW YORK, October 5, 2021 – Children and adolescents could feel the effects of COVID-19 on their mental health and well-being for many years to come, UNICEF warned in its flagship report today.

According to The State of the World’s Children in 2021; On My Mind: Promoting, Protecting, and Maintaining Children’s Mental Health – UNICEF’s most comprehensive look at the mental health of children, adolescents and carers in the 21st with no significant investment to address it.

According to the latest available estimates, it is estimated that more than one in seven adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 worldwide are living with a diagnosed mental disorder. Almost 46,000 adolescents die each year from suicide, one of the top five causes of death in their age group. Meanwhile, large gaps exist between mental health needs and mental health funding. The report finds that around 2 percent of government health budgets worldwide are spent on mental health.

“It’s been a long, long 18 months for all of us – especially for children. With statewide bans and pandemic restrictions on movement, children have spent indelible years of their lives without family, friends, classrooms and play – key elements of childhood itself, “said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The impact is significant and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Even before the pandemic, far too many children were burdened with the weight of unaddressed psychological problems. Governments are investing too little to meet these critical needs. Too little importance is attached to the relationship between mental health and future life outcomes. “

Children’s Mental Health During COVID-19

In fact, the pandemic has taken its toll. According to initial results of an international survey of children and adults in 21 countries, carried out by UNICEF and Gallup and presented in The State of the World’s Children 2021, there was a median of 1 in 5 adolescents surveyed between the ages of 15 and 24 that they frequently feel depressed or have little interest in doing things.

In the third year of COVID-19, the effects on the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents remain severe. According to the latest data available from UNICEF, at least 1 in 7 children worldwide are directly affected by lockdowns, while more than 1.6 billion children have suffered some educational loss. The disruption of routines, education and recreation, and concerns about family income and health leave many young people with fear, anger and concern about their future. For example, an online survey in China in early 2020, quoted in The State of the World’s Children, found that around a third of respondents said they felt anxious or anxious.

Costs to society

Diagnosed mental disorders, including ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, behavioral disorder, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia, can have a significant impact on the health, education, life, and employability of children and adolescents.

Although the impact on children’s lives is incalculable, a new analysis by the London School of Economics in the report shows that the lost contribution to economies due to mental disorders that lead to disability or death in young people reaches nearly 390 Billions of dollars a year is estimated.

Protective factors

The report finds that a mix of genetics, experience, and environmental factors from the start, including parenting, schooling, quality of relationships, violence or abuse, discrimination, poverty, humanitarian crises, and health emergencies like COVID-19, all shape and influence the world children’s mental health throughout their lives.

While protective factors such as loving caregivers, safe school environments, and positive peer relationships can help reduce the risk of mental disorders, the report warns that significant barriers, including stigma and lack of funding, prevent too many children from experiencing positive mental health or access the support you need.

The State of the World’s Children 2021 calls on governments and public and private sector partners to pledge, communicate and act to promote the mental health of all children, adolescents and carers, protect those in need and care for the most vulnerable including:

  • Urgent investment in child and adolescent mental health in all sectors, not just healthcare, to support a societal approach to prevention, promotion and care.

  • Integrate and expand evidence-based interventions in health, education and social protection – including parenting programs that promote responsive, nurturing care and support the mental health of parents and carers; and ensuring schools support mental health through quality services and positive relationships.

  • Break the silence about mental illness by addressing stigma, promoting a better understanding of mental health, and taking the experiences of children and adolescents seriously.

“Mental health is part of physical health – we can’t afford to keep seeing it any other way,” said Fore. “For far too long, in both rich and poor countries, we have seen too little understanding and investment in a critical element of maximizing the potential of every child. That needs to change.”


Notes for editors

Estimates of the causes of death in adolescents are based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Estimates 2019. Estimates of the prevalence of diagnosed mental disorders are based on the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.

Survey results on depression or too little interest in things are part of a larger study jointly conducted by UNICEF and Gallup to examine the generation gap. The “Changing Childhood” project interviewed around 20,000 people in 21 countries by telephone. All samples are probability-based and nationally representative of two different population groups in each country: people aged 15 to 24 and people aged 40 and over. The coverage area spans the entire country, including rural areas, and the sample frame represents the entire civilian, non-institutionalized population within each age cohort with access to a telephone. The full results of the project will be published by UNICEF in November.

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