Adolescents’ mental health hasn’t been as bad as we’ve heard during COVID-19

Kelly Dean Schwartz, University of Calgary

Calgary (Canada), Oct 13 (The Conversation) The youth of Canada, like any other people, are facing many problems in their lives due to the global pandemic of coronavirus. The current academic year of schools has not started as we expected, the number of cases of Kovid-19 is fluctuating, there is uncertainty about the safety and delta nature of students in schools.

Headlines suggest that segregation has led to mental health problems among youth and that the global pandemic is severely affecting the mental health of children, but as the headlines seem to be, is it affecting the youth as much? Have a negative impact? Do we have any old or current data in this regard, on the basis of which such an announcement can be made?

old and current data

It is difficult to find reliable data on Canadian youth from the time before the global pandemic. For decades, we have relied on studies such as the 1987 Ontario Child Health Study and its findings that one in five youth in the country suffers from a mental disorder. At that time 18.1 percent of children aged four to 16 years suffered from one or more disorders.

Even 30 years later, according to the findings of the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, the data on emotional and behavioral disorders remains nearly identical. According to information provided by parents and children themselves, 18.2 percent and 21.8% of adolescents in the age group of 12 to 17 years, respectively, suffer from “some disorder”. These figures show no dramatic increase in the number of Canadian youth suffering from mental problems.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also concerned about the number of youth living with mental health problems and the lack of access to services, but as a registered psychologist and researcher for more than 25 years, I’ve always felt that every The one in five figure fails to capture the inherent disparities in the rate of youth suffering from mental disorders.

Detecting the impact of covid-19

Many studies have been done to find out the health impact of COVID-19 on children, but very few studies have used Canadian samples, many are already published and many have been done before and after COVID-19. Long-term comparative samples were not used during the period.

However, a study on adolescents in Quebec and Ontario and a study on adults in Quebec are exceptions to these studies. Both these studies have found that there has been a slight increase in mental disorders such as anxiety and depression during and before COVID-19.

Our study found that adolescents aged 15 to 18 years had more stress than adolescents aged 12 to 15 years, girls were more adversely affected than boys and those whose family income was affected Those who have or already had a psychological problem have also been more adversely affected by the pandemic.

General response versus mental health crisis

Some youth have clearly reported the negative impacts the pandemic has had on their social, personal and academic lives, but across all the areas we measured, more than seven out of every 10 youth in our sample have a relationship with COVID-19. The responses I am giving are developmentally and psychologically normal. In other words, contrary to the worrying headlines, most young people are dealing with the pandemic better.

But what about the remaining 30 percent of the youth? Do the symptoms he himself has described about his mental health mean that we have a problem with the mental health epidemic of young people? To some extent the answer is that

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