The JC

We have to tackle the issue of children’s mental health

June 03, 2021 11:53

It is widely recognised that the pandemic has had a deleterious impact on mental health. Perhaps the worst hit group is young people. Learning to cope with the demands of school and the pressures of growing up is a process that can take years. The pandemic has thrown a curve ball at that process and caused all sorts of other problems. A recent poll found that three-quarters of parents of children aged between six and 11 believe their child’s mental health has been affected by Covid, with 35 per cent saying their children have a higher level of anxiety and 28 percent a deterioration in their confidence over the past year. The surge in antisemitic incidents within some schools has added a new set of problems. It is a positive development that the stigma surrounding mental health has been greatly reduced.

And, paradoxically, one of the consequences of the pandemic may be to reduce it further, given how much discussion there has been about the issue. But there remains much to be done in our community. The high value we — rightly — place on academic success can have consequences. It is vital that schools take this seriously and are equipped to deal with those consequences on mental health. The #BrakeTheSystem campaign, launched by mental health group Beyond, is an important initiative. Whether the issues are addiction, anxiety, depression or even suicidal thoughts, schools need both a willingness and the tools tohelp. This is an issue that will only get worse unless it is tackled.

June 03, 2021 11:53

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