Children ‘have PTSD from the coronavirus pandemic’
The mental health of children is said to be affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus. (Getty Images)
According to a charity, children develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the Children’s Trust, young people experience “vivid nightmares”, a potential warning sign of the disease.
Daily headlines about rising fatalities with more than 468,000 confirmed deaths worldwide are also said to worry young people.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds suffer the most as the pandemic widens the gap between children from wealthy and less wealthy areas.
Residents of disadvantaged communities are often front-line workers such as deliverers and social workers, and many of their children worry about their parents' health, especially when adults "transfer" their fears to them.
Early research suggests that in four out of five cases, the infection is mild but can trigger a respiratory disease called COVID-19.
A girl of primary school age puts on a mask before entering a school in Frankfurt. (Getty Images)
"It seems like it will end humanity"
In its Children in Lockdown report, the Children's Trust highlighted the mental health problems that many young people face as a result of the corona virus.
It warns that the daily death toll is particularly stressful for some.
"These kids saw it all and internalized it," said Laurence Guinness, general manager of the charity.
An 11-year-old boy said in the report: "Since there have been many deaths, it seems to me that it will soon end humanity."
Dr. Maria Loades, a clinical psychologist at the University of Bath, warned that lockdown "could increase the risk of depression and likely anxiety, and possible post-traumatic stress."
This is not the first time that this issue has been addressed. Experts from around the world previously said that the pandemic could have a "profound" and "pervasive" impact on mental health.
The trust surveyed 2,000 adolescents who had mental illness before the onset of the coronavirus. More than four in five (83%) said the pandemic had made their fighting worse.
A 10-year-old girl said she "shouts on the phone" when friends call to see her because she is "so stressed".
Galiema Amien-Cloete, a school principal from London primary school, told the BBC that she saw the parents' fears being transmitted to the children.
She also said that the lack of routine, contact with friends, and regular education for a child can be "like a bereavement."
This is the case, although children are much less at risk of coronavirus complications than adults if they contract the infection.
Why are children less at risk of coronavirus?
The vast majority of coronavirus-related deaths worldwide have occurred in the elderly. Between March and June, six people under the age of 14 died from the infection in England and Wales over a period of 10 weeks. This is compared to 24,511 in people between the ages of 75 and 90. It is known that our immune system becomes less “sharp” with age, which reduces its ability to fight off infections that we have not encountered before. The circulating coronavirus is one of seven strains of a virus class that are known to infect humans. Four of these strains trigger cold-like symptoms that children in school may be more exposed to. Fending off other strains can give adolescents an edge when it comes to defeating the coronavirus. Research also suggests that children are less likely to get the infection in the first place. To what extent they pass it on is up for debate
"Mom will die, she won't come back"
The UK ban was introduced on March 23 to curb the spread of infections.
While officials stressed that the extreme measure was crucial to protecting the NHS, experts feared that the disadvantaged would suffer the most.
Boris Johnson closed schools and kindergartens on March 20, and so far only certain age groups have returned.
The Children's Trust has warned that young people without internet access who cannot take virtual lessons at home fall behind their wealthier peers.
The authors of the report emphasized that this "inequality" must "be taken into account" in order to avoid long-term consequences.
These children are similarly cut off from online therapy or GP appointments.
Vulnerable children also cannot see their teachers who are trained to recognize signs of abuse or neglect.
Reports of teacher abuse have allegedly declined, but school home support claims that the number of children who need to be referred to school services has increased by 750% compared to 2019.
Many point to excessive alcohol consumption. Sales have reportedly increased more than a fifth (21%) since the block began.
Former Home Secretary and Chancellor Sajid Javid warned early that the outbreak could be a "perfect storm" for child abuse, as young people at risk "must remain isolated next to their perpetrator".
Because job security is unstable due to the economic downturn, many children are starving.
Research shows that 2 million children have been hungry since March 23, compared to 1.3 million adolescents who were already entitled to a free school lunch.
Demand for emergency food banks also increased 89% in April from the same time in 2019.
When it comes to key workers, frontline workers are often unable to distance themselves socially from potentially infectious people, making them more vulnerable.
One elementary school girl said that every time her mother went to work, she thought, "Mom will die, she won't come back."
Research has repeatedly shown that people with a black, Asian or ethnic minority are more likely to contract the corona virus.
These people are often front workers who live in crowded houses in disadvantaged areas.
Concerns have also been raised about autistic children who benefit particularly from a routine.
As the ban gradually subsides, officials have warned that we may have to adapt to a “new normal” without anyone being able to say for sure what this could mean.
"I think we need to be aware that this won't be over long because we have to deal with the effects on children," said Amien-Cloete.
How to recognize PTSD in children
Children with PTSD often have symptoms similar to adults suffering from this disease.
This includes insomnia, nightmares and loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed.
Others may start behaving, avoiding things related to the trauma they have experienced, or replaying the event while playing.
It is also common for children to deny that the incident happened, or to be terrified when they see a potential threat.
Some may also experience intense or persistent sadness, as well as irritated or angry outbreaks.
Children with PTSD can also withdraw and act helplessly or hopelessly.
When it comes to physical symptoms, teenagers can complain of headaches or abdominal pain.
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