Natural disasters and pandemics can have a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of children. The mental health of children and young people has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Children thrive on predictability and routine, therefore fear, uncertainty, social isolation, lockdown, school closures and parental stress have all taken their toll with increased levels of anxiety and depression. In the times of uncertainty and stress, parents can role model behaviour, and provide a secure family environment with routine which can help ameliorate the stress. To fully understand the range of issues relating to mental health in children and young people in the context of COVID-19, it is important to consider a developmental perspective, including that of mental wellbeing itself as well as the brain and relationships during childhood. Associated issues relate to the important topic of impact; namely, the response to disasters such as the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures such as facemask wearing, resultant parenting issues and the increased prevalence of witnessing domestic violence. The global impact in relation to these issues also requires attention to appreciate the impact on the mental health of children and young people. Recommendations are offered for anyone working with children and young people within education, public health and the vital role of nurses in caring for the mental health and wellbeing of our future adult population.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 11 May 2022|