A study conducted by University College London has concluded that the harm of lockdown school closures extends to children, with the most common illness being anxiety.
Around 60% of boys and 47% of girls are said to be the major casualties. It has long been known that lockdown has had a tremendous impact on mental health all around the world. The severity of this on children is now clear to see.
The analysis was observed from 20 countries around the world. It explained how potential school closures in the future will only exacerbate the situation. Not only that but clubs and unions being closed is a massive factor in children’s wellbeing. Their lockdown-enforced shutdown only contributes to the issue.
Human interaction is essential for child development. Even if they don’t like school very much, the benefit of seeing friends is something that cannot be taken for granted. This covers both school and clubs. It’s not a coincidence that between 36 and 47% of children were less active during lockdown.
It is likely as well that the effects will linger even further down the line. With many people seeing this world as a new normal, they’ll be unaccustomed to working in environments that used to be standard. Children in classrooms are likely to suffer from restlessness, inattentiveness and even more nerves.
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As a former university student, I’ve seen depression and anxiety overwhelm my friends and fellow students. It seemed unfathomable to me a few years ago that children could feel the same way. Ordinary, happy, well-adjusted children. Yet here we are.
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As adults, mental illness manifests in different ways. Trauma, abuse, overworking or a nihilistic view on one’s future. Children are susceptible to direct and emotionally-based stimuli. Isolation and abandonment being chief on the list. And that is what this lockdown must feel like for so many children. Abandonment.
I coach the under-15s for my local rugby club. I can see first-hand that the boys absolutely relish every moment they spend on the pitch with each other. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing, the jubilation and excitement they show have been taken for granted by so many.