Covid-19 And Its Effects On Children’s Mental Health


Children’s mental health and well-being were a problem long before Covid-19. In 2004, seven percent of children ages 3-17, had diagnosed anxiety. The mental health of children has been declining over time, but Covid seems to have boosted this problem tenfold. This pandemic is doing far more mental damage than most people think.

Before The Pandemic

Covid-19 has brought a plethora of problems that we never really had before. Previously children had a school routine to help structure their day and their behavior. While in school, they were able to socialize and communicate with friends and peers easily. While access to mental health services is far from great, it was still there before Covid, and kids had access to these mental health services. Exam schedules were solid and children knew when to be prepared for these important tests. All these basic things kids had, are not available now. Kids had undisrupted education, physical activities, opportunities for socialization, and mental health services. The NIH (National Institute of Health) states that, “the pre-lockdown learning of children and adolescents predominantly involved one-to-one interaction with their mentors and peer groups.” Now those one-to-one interactions are all but gone, further weakening the mental health of children.

The Effects on Impoverished Children

Children in impoverished families were having a difficult time before the pandemic even began. Since the lockdown, many of these poorer families have lost their jobs and thus their only source of income. This leads to an increased chance of them having a mental health issue, facing abuse, and are more susceptible to Covid. These children are being bombarded with problems that all contribute to the worsening of their mental health. The NIH said, “ in India there is a population of 472 million children, and the lockdown significantly impacted 40 million children from poor families.” Many of these children might not even have a home, and the ones that do, have an increased risk of being victims of abuse and violence. The NIH goes as far as to say that, “ the frustration and family conflict may manifest itself in the form of violence towards children. This can make the child more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and suicide.” Along with that, so many children have a hard time participating in remote learning, because of their lack of devices, internet access, and their cramped homes. Everything that is happening to these children is going to have long-lasting effects on their mental well-being. 

How Mental Health is Looking Now

I can talk all day about the adverse and lasting effects this pandemic has on the mental health of children all around the world, but I think you will be more swayed by the statistics. There is a lot of data on the mental health of adults during this pandemic. This is relevant, because there is a correlation between the mental health of the parent and their child. Usually, if a parent has poor mental health, then the child’s mental health decreases too. At the beginning of the pandemic, around 40% of adults reported trouble with mental health. There are also increasing reports from parents showing concern for their children’s mental health. As opposed to before, now there is also a 14% increase in worsening mental health problems during the pandemic. Children are missing major life events and milestones. Although the pandemic is affecting both adults and children, its effects on children are far more severe. The NIH says that since many children (especially teens) are going through this during a time in their life where they are developing and growing, they will see more lasting effects. The mental health problems they are facing during this developmental period in their life will likely harm their mental well-being for much of their lives.

How to Stop This!

The best thing kids can do to help their friends and peer through this hard time is to recognize when they see something, and to tell a school counselor or a trusted adult, so they can talk to and help that kid. Parents have an essential role in stopping this crisis. The CDC lists four things a parent should do to ensure the mental health of their child. They should recognize and address fear and stress, teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions, help keep their kids healthy, and help them stay socially connected. If we manage to do this, we might just survive this crisis of mental health, which Covid has truly made worse.