Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Mental Health of Children and Adolescents Amidst COVID 19 and Past Pandemics: A Rapid Systematic Review

Version 1 : Received: 2 March 2021 / Approved: 4 March 2021 / Online: 4 March 2021 (09:53:18 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Meherali, S.; Punjani, N.; Louie-Poon, S.; Abdul Rahim, K.; Das, J.K.; Salam, R.A.; Lassi, Z.S. Mental Health of Children and Adolescents Amidst COVID-19 and Past Pandemics: A Rapid Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3432. Meherali, S.; Punjani, N.; Louie-Poon, S.; Abdul Rahim, K.; Das, J.K.; Salam, R.A.; Lassi, Z.S. Mental Health of Children and Adolescents Amidst COVID-19 and Past Pandemics: A Rapid Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3432.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3432
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18073432

Abstract

Background: The COVID 19 pandemic and associated public health measures have disrupted the lives of people around the world. It is already evident that the direct and indirect psychological and social effects of the COVID 19 pandemic are insidious and affect the mental health of young children and adolescents now and will in the future. The aim and objectives of this knowledge-synthesis study were to identify the impact of the pandemic on children’s and adolescent’s mental health and to evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions employed during previous and the current pandemic to promote children’s and adolescent’s mental health. Methodology: We conducted the systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and included experimental randomized, nonrandomized controlled trials; observational studies; and qualitative studies. Results: Of the 5,828 articles that we retrieved, 18 articles met the inclusion criteria. We thematically analyzed and put up the major findings under the thematic areas of impact of pandemic on children and adolescent’s mental health. These studies reported that pandemics cause stress, worry, helplessness, and social and risky behavioral problems among children and adolescents (e.g., substance abuse, suicide, relationship problems, academic issues, absenteeism from work). Interventions such as art-based programs, support services, and clinician-led mental health and psychosocial services effectively decrease mental health issues among children and adolescents. Conclusion: Children and adolescents are more likely to experience high rates of depression and anxiety during and after a pandemic. It is critical that future researchers explore effective mental health strategies that are tailored to the needs of children and adolescents. Explorations of effective channels regarding the development and delivery of evidence-based, age-appropriate services are vital to lessen the effects and improve long-term capacities for mental health services for children and adolescents.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; Mental Health; Children; Adolescents

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