Most Ontario youth experienced depression during a pandemic, early data suggest

Toronto — Preliminary research shows that the COVID-19 crisis has a lasting and significant impact on the mental health of young people in Ontario.

Researchers at a hospital for sick children in Toronto released their first findings on Thursday. He showed that the majority of children and teenagers saw a decline in their mental health during the second wave of the pandemic.

Early, non-peer-reviewed data show that more than half of the 758 children aged 8 to 12 reported significant symptoms of depression from February to March.

This psychological damage is even more pronounced among teenagers, with 70% of 520 adolescents aged 13-18 reporting severe depressive symptoms.

The findings come from responses from approximately 1,500 parents and children in Ontario as part of a series of routine surveys that track the mental health of young people during a pandemic.

Dr. Daphne Korczak, Ph.D. in ongoing Sick Kids-led research, said that strict Ontario blockades, including long-term school closures in some areas, could have lasting consequences. It states that it shows that it brought to young people.

“There was no evidence that children began to improve, adapt, or demonstrate resilience during the year,” said Corzac, a quasi-scientist in the chic kids neuroscience and mental health program. I am.

“When we resume about how our society can prioritize children and their mental health, we must have a meaningful conversation.”

According to data collected from 1,494 participants, the more time school-aged children spend learning online, the more likely they are to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to Corzac, some respondents felt that they “did not feel like school” due to socialization restrictions and the suspension of extracurricular activities, even during face-to-face lessons. ..

“Children value the school, not just the physical store building,” she said. “If you want to improve your children’s mental health, you need to run your school as normally as possible.”

SickKids consistently advocates that students stay in the classroom throughout the pandemic, and during the COVID-19 outbreak, classes are small and locally closed.

Extensive vaccination is an important aspect of Ontario’s plan to resume in-class learning in the fall, but the full details of the plan are not shared.

The state has promised to provide all students and education workers with two bullets by September.

But it’s not as easy as getting the kids back into the classroom, Corzac said. Authorities must also provide support to parents to ensure the well-being of their children, she said.

Preliminary findings show that families who were coping with difficulties prior to the pandemic had a disproportionate impact on their financial fallout, resulting in similarly high levels of mental health symptoms for both children and caregivers. Shown.

Lydia Muyingo, a PhD student in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University, said SickKids’ preliminary findings are consistent with the increased demand for services observed in her own clinical studies.

Canada’s youth mental health crisis precedes a pandemic, Muingo said. As such, the solution cannot be as simple as “returning to normal.”

“There is this story that children are resilient and can overcome anything. And yes, children are resilient, but they are also humans,” Muyingo said.

“I think these effects of COVID will last longer than when the mask is removed … because experiencing mental health problems as a child increases the risk of experiencing these problems in adulthood.”

By Adina Bresge

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