A team of experts has found that there has been a significant increase in depression among school-going children after schools have closed down due to COVID19 Pandemic in China. There have been more suicide attempts by the children recently across the nation. The Ministry of Education had decided to delay the start of the spring semester in China after the pandemic hit the country. Experts have said this has detached children from their friends and peer groups, which might be a reason for their poor mental wellbeing. Scientists have observed the data of mental issues prior to the pandemic from November 2019 to mid-May 2020. This study has been published in the JAMA Network Open.
Experts have surveyed nearly 1241 students studying in grade four to grade eight and junior high school. All the participants have been from Chizhou, Anhui Province where COVID19 cases have been quite less. Experts have revealed that around 25 percent of students have shown depression symptoms in May 2020, whereas only 19 percent of students have shown some signs of depression in the month of November 2019. Experts have said that suicide attempts among students have seen a two-fold increase in May this year. Only 3 percent of students have attempted suicide in November 2019, while around 6.4 percent of students have tried to attempt suicide in May 2020. There has been no similar increase in children who have complained of experiencing anxiety.
Scientists have said that these findings can help school authorities to provide necessary mental health services to children who are set to return to schools after a long hiatus. This study also supports other researches, which say that social isolation has caused severe mental health issues among children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged students to be physically present in the class as schools prepare to reopen soon. The organization has said it will be helpful for students who have been socially isolated due to remote learning during the pandemic. The officials have said that in-person learning is very crucial at this time, as school closure in the spring of 2020 has left a negative impact on children.