Mental stress and symptoms in children and young people in Germany have increased significantly during the corona pandemic. "The majority of the studies carried out up to the second wave of the pandemic showed a relevant deterioration in the well-being and mental health of children and adolescents," notes a team of authors from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in a recently published rapid review.
For this purpose, 39 studies on the topic were evaluated. Compared to findings about the psychological stress in adults, children and adolescents have proven to be more vulnerable in the pandemic.
Increase in mental health problems
According to the evaluation in the "Journal of Health Monitoring", the burden varied with the pandemic waves and the respective corona measures. This shows that children react sensitively "to the sometimes drastic changes in their environment". A high degree of pandemic-related stress, increases in mental health problems and impairments in quality of life were reported from representative studies.
However, according to the RKI, the vast majority of studies related to the start of the pandemic up to the summer plateau of 2020. Overall, the authors see a lack of studies on child mental health during the pandemic. Many studies had some form of significant limitation. A shortcoming is mentioned, for example, that risk groups could only be identified to a limited extent.
RKI: Continue to monitor children's mental health
From the RKI's point of view, further, regularly conducted trend and cohort studies would be desirable. Such kind of monitoring would allow children's mental health to be monitored as the pandemic progresses and beyond. After all, the consequences of psychological stress often only become apparent later.
According to the study, in the years before the pandemic, the frequency of mental health problems in children and adolescents tended to decrease.