Data offers best practices to keep kids resilient during COVID-19

Kids Coronavirus Mental Health
Posted at 11:05 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 02:05:56-04

Data compiled by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health is looking to provide guidance for the COVID-19 impact on the mental health of kids.

"Historical research on the effects of pandemics on children’s mental health is limited," the study said. "But current analyses on the impact of COVID-19, in the U.S. and across the world, can help inform best practices for promoting resilience among children facing adversity."

According to their data, in 2018 hospitalizations for mental health issues in teens ages 15 to 19 in Kern County were 431, nearly double the number compared to 2010. Data shows that for ages 5 to 14, there were 258 hospitalizations for mental health issues in 2018. That's almost three times the number of hospitalizations in 2010.

As their research concluded, "With the emergence of COVID-19, children with existing mental health issues must endure the added burden of a pandemic," meaning additional efforts need to be put in place to assist youth.

These additions measures include providing more mental health support from schools. Although children at this time are not physically attending schools, officials can still play an important role in identifying problems.

"Now more than ever, students facing adverse experiences at home, compounded by the consequences of COVID-19, need access to quality mental health services to protect their emotional well-being," the study said.

The study also cited data from a UK survey suggesting that since the start of the coronavirus, students reported increased anxiety, problems with sleep, and panic attacks as a result of school closures. The study found that activities like face-to-face calls with friends, watching TV, exercise, and learning new skills were most helpful for mental health issues.

For more information on identifying and responding to signs of mental illness among youth, see here.