September 27, Kathmandu. Studies have shown that many children have mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to experts who have worked in the field of mental illness for a long time.
Due to the corona epidemic, children were away from the main elements of childhood like classmates, sports for almost two years. Experts are concerned that this will affect their overall growth and development.
More parents have brought their children with mental health problems to Kanti Children’s Hospital this time than before. The head of the psychiatry department of the hospital, Dr. Arun Raj Kunwar, finds this very worrying.
He said that the terror of Corona has seriously affected many children who are imprisoned in their homes during the pandemic and are forced to forget about television and internet.
According to a recent UNICEF report, one in seven children worldwide are directly affected by the lockdown and more than 1.6 billion have lost their educational opportunities.
Many children and adolescents are experiencing fear, anger and anxiety about the future due to disruptive routines, education, entertainment as well as family income and health concerns, the UNICEF report said.
UNICEF estimates that one in seven adolescents aged 10 to 19 years around the world has a mental illness.
Every year around 46,000 teenagers die by suicide in the world. The number of child suicides in Nepal is alarming. In the last five years, 2,437 children have committed suicide across the country. Of these, 965 are boys and 1,472 are girls.
Last year 764 children committed suicide. This figure shows that more than two children commit suicide every day in Nepal.
According to UNICEF, only a small fraction of major health problems are now seen in children. The report concludes that children and adolescents are suffering from mental health crisis due to lack of interest and rapid investment in the subject since pre-Covid 19.
Worldwide, only about 2 percent of the government’s health budget is allocated to mental health. “We have found that in all countries, rich and poor, there is little investment in an important element of child empowerment. This needs to change,” UNICEF said.
Dr. Ganga Pathak, active in the mental health treatment of adolescents for over two decades, says that the mental problems of children are worrying in both type and number.
“During the pandemic, mental illness spread like wildfire,” she says.
According to him, many children who are addicted to the Internet have been found to have difficulty concentrating, anxiety, restlessness, autism and bipolar disorder. Mental problems such as depression, eating disorders, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia have also been found.
Doctor. “It is harming the health, education, thinking and abilities of children and adolescents,” she said.
A survey conducted by the Nepal Health Research Council on the mental health status of children in all seven states during the pandemic found that 7 percent of 16-year-olds and 6 percent of 17-year-olds had mental health problems.
Surveys have shown more mental problems among adolescents in Province 1. Adolescents are more prone to mental health problems.