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 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 282-283

Children in COVID 19: Giggles to quietude


Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, UHS, Rohtak, Haryana, India

Date of Submission24-May-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication8-Apr-2021

Correspondence Address:
Aparna Goyal
Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, UHS, Rohtak, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cjhr.cjhr_56_20

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  Abstract 


Children make up about one-third of the Indian population. Due to large size and special needs, it is extremely important to consider this demographic group in the planning for COVID-19. Here we identify the risk factors with possible psychological impact and emphasize in brief on the different strategies which need for effective implementation to ensure their well -“ being.

Keywords: Children, COVID 19, mental health


How to cite this article:
Prasad SK, Nain V, Gupta A, Goyal A. Children in COVID 19: Giggles to quietude. CHRISMED J Health Res 2020;7:282-3

How to cite this URL:
Prasad SK, Nain V, Gupta A, Goyal A. Children in COVID 19: Giggles to quietude. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 19];7:282-3. Available from: https://www.cjhr.org/text.asp?2020/7/4/282/313177




  Introduction Top


Unprecedented times like current where fear and mayhem due to COVID 19 pandemic has percolated to all layers of humanity, our children are no far behind. While there was fun, laughter and excitement all around now there is quiet solitude of empty parks and streets with silent rustling of tress and nary a child playing. Novel coronavirus has brought the world to a standstill with its high contagion capacity, fatality risk, and lack of absolute treatment choices. India, one of the most populated but a developing country, is struggling with the available resources as well as it can. Government, different functioning departments, and even the public are playing their role by taking measures and cooperating. Lockdown measures and home confinement enforced by the Government have, on the one hand, helped in reducing transmission, while on the other hand, they caused economic repercussions. But what about children? Is this affecting them, how they are reacting, what are they aware of, and how are they dealing with it. This time in India for children was of examinations, promotion to the senior class, newer arenas to explore, new teachers, and, sometimes, new schools, friends, even colleges and playgrounds. All this curtailed with staying at home with lack of peer companionship and physical connectedness. This definitely has its impact on a child's mental health and mental health professional should be well prepared for aftermath.


  Predictions Top


It has been reported that COVID 19 has brought in higher anxiety and depression among children noticed during the home confinement.[1] Children and adolescents can be prone to anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, phobia, adjustment problems, grief, etc., Child psychiatry is a lot more different than adult as it usually does not follow the fixed norms, and hence, it becomes difficult to identify and more imperative for us to be aware. Children often do not disclose their fears and worries easily and are tend to be overlooked as all things considered their world is untroubled, but one should always look for emotional cues such as irritability, crying spells, increased temper tantrums, disturbed sleep and diet patterns, staying aloof, disinterest in interaction with friends and family, not engaging in usually enjoyable activities, and risk of substance use in teens.[2]


  Vulnerability Top


For Indians, factors like migrant population who are suddenly uprooted to nowhere or left in lurch due to lockdown measures, inability to reach back their homes because of closure of state borders and public transport, lack of availability of basic necessities such as food, water, and ration, loss of a family member due to disease and the associated stigma, and family member being a health-care worker/frontline workers with a higher risk of infection and need to stay away from family have an adverse impact on child mental health. Chronic issues such as substance use by a parental figure, child abuse, marital/family conflicts, economic issues, and chronic illness in family also add to the ongoing situation making it extremely difficult for the child to adapt.[3]


  Planning Top


Children are resilient and can bounce back if love and care is provided in time. The purpose is to overcome immediate physical needs, protect from additional harm and to identify, reassure, and restore the feeling of understanding, safety and security to build up their ability to cope with the trauma.[4]

For a parent

  • Make a schedule, follow the schedule.
  • Children are imaginative and that can shape their fears. Talk freely, provide information, explain circumstances, confront issues, clarify doubts, and finally reassure.
  • Indulge in shared activities such as drawing, painting, art and craft, singing songs, dancing to tunes, and even requesting assist in household jobs.
  • No physical activity and home confinement probably can lead to increase screen time or increase time in video games. Limit them and can use reinforcement techniques to maintain that.
  • Pros and cons of virtual classrooms are still debatable, but on a positive note, it helped in continuity of education, especially in a country like India, where homeschooling is not a practical solution as of yet.[5]
  • Encourage them to keep in touch with their friends through phones, social media, etc.
  • Role of media has its ups and downs, but the graphic catastrophization can be toned down through parental supervision, so decide what, how much, and which media can be exposed to your child without much harm.
  • Watch out for emotional cues not only in children but also in self. Managing one's own fears, frustration, and worries is important before confronting that of children.[6]
  • Consult a health professional early whenever needed.


For a mental health professional

  • “A stitch in time save nine” so be prepared.
  • Acquire and dissimilate knowledge regarding psychological first aid. Collaborate with all who work with children, i.e., parents, schools, child care workers, and other health professionals who can help in creating a safe environment for them.
  • Join forces with schools in setting up advance strategies and counseling aids when the school reopens to watch for safety, security and mental well-being of children.
  • Promoting effective coping strategies, for example, problem-focused and emotion-focused approach and prevention while modeling cognitive regulation and positive constructive behavior.[7]
  • Encourage to talk and even pen down their thoughts. Expressive writing has been reported to be constructive and in building up confidence.
  • Grief in children can often be ignored as they do not usually show the overt signs and may be mistaken as resilience. Furthermore, adults fear that talking about it may cause more distress. On the contrary, talking, discussing, and explaining the children concepts of death in simple terms are therapeutic. Sharing stories and cherishing the memories of the loved one can help in recovering.[8]
  • Role of psychotropics is limited in this population and situation. To be used as and when necessitated.


Although all is not well in the wonderland, this pandemic has brought families together with better bonding, newer skills learning, better understanding in difficult situations, and is preparing them for all adversities together. Mental health of these future stars needs to be of paramount importance or it can have far-reaching consequences on each level as an individual, family, society, nation, and world.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Xie X, Xue Q, Zhou Y, Zhu K, Liu Q, Zhang J, et al. Mental health status among children in home confinement during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in Hubei Province, China. JAMA pediatrics 2020.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Schonfeld DJ, Demaria T. Providing psychosocial support to children and families in the aftermath of disasters and crises. Pediatrics. 2015;136:e1120-30.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Wizemann T, Reeve M, Altevogt B. Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Considerations for Children and Families. Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Considerations for Children and Families; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Rich M. How Teenagers can Protect their Mental Health During Coronavirus (COVID-19). UNICEF; 2020. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/how-teenagers-can-protect-their-mental-health-during-coronavirus-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Lewis N. Coronavirus Lockdown Could Give Online Education a Lasting Boost in India. CNN Business; 2020. Available from: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/08/tech/online-education-india-coronavirus-spc/index.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Kar N. Psychological impact of disasters on children: Review of assessment and interventions. World J Pediatr 2009;5:5-11.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Compas BE, Connor-Smith JK, Saltzman H, Thomsen AH, Wadsworth ME. Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: Problems, progress, and potential in theory and research. Psychol Bull 2001;127:87-127.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Owen G, Osterweis M, Solomon F, Green M. Bereavement: Reactions, consequences, and care. Contemp Soc 1985;14:701.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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Abstract
Introduction
Predictions
Vulnerability
Planning
References

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