Aniruddh Behere* and Brittany N. Barber Garcia
The novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 has had clear and direct impact on the physical health of human beings, but the mental health toll associated with this global pandemic is only beginning to be understood. Although children and adolescents have been largely spared from the more severe symptoms associated with the disease, global health organizations such as the United Nations have suggested that COVID-19 may have the longest and most severe impact on children and adolescents due to the socioeconomic, physical, psychological impacts associated with the disease itself and the measures taken to stop transmission, such as physical distancing. This paper provides an overview of the evolutionary basis for community, and the ways that social and physical distancing measures to contain COVID-19 threaten the important social learning and support that community provides. It will then discuss, based on research from prior pandemics, recommendations from global health authorities, and emerging data on the impacts of COVID-19, how this pandemic is likely to impact the mental health of children and adolescents. Finally, we offer evidenced-based suggestions about how to mitigate the effects of physical and social distancing.
Children, Pediatric, Mental Health, COVID-19, Psychology, Psychiatry
Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Behavioral Medicine, 35 Michigan Street NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503, Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Behavioral Medicine, 35 Michigan Street NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503