May 7, 2021

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How school closures affected the mental health of American children during the epidemic

No one believed that the plague would spread easily to children. The virus may target younger people less directly than it does, but other challenges — lack of schooling, lack of play, and lack of time with friends — can cause emotional damage. Study Linn Published on April 29th Jama network open Explains how serious that injury was.

The work, led by psychologist Tali Raviev of Northwest University, included a study of more than 32,000 caregivers in the Chicago Public School System. The meaning of “caregiver” is broad, with anyone having a primary responsibility for caring for parents and grandparents as well as children over the age of 18. The sample group of families varied by race and ethnicity – 39.3% white, 30.2% Latinx; 22.4% black; And 8.1% merged.

The main point of the study is March 21, 2020: Physical Instructions Completed in Chicago Public Schools and Home-Based Education. Raviv and colleagues asked each caregiver to rate the children they were expecting to be completed before and after the end of the school day (12 studies). (July 15)

The results were amazing. In general, the overall effect on negative behaviors went up, and there was a decline in all positive ones. Some were relatively small shifts: talk of future plans dropped from 44.3% to 30.9% (change of 13.4 percent). Positive peer relationships decreased from 60.4% to 46.8% (13.6%-point reduction). But in other cases, the change was even more dramatic. Overall, 3.6% of children reported signs of loneliness before the schools closed, followed by 31.9% with a significant change of 28.3 percent. 4.2% before the closure were marked by anxiety or anger, and after 23.9% jumped 19.7 points.

The small number of children studied, Raviv said, has improved over time. “About 7% have really benefited,” she says. For example, suicides and suicides have dropped from 0.5% to 0.4% among black children and 0.4% to 0.3% among Latin children. Perhaps the school was a stressful place and distance learning was good for them. ”

But this is not the case for most children, and like many things, race, ethnicity, and income play a role, although in this case they were better off in black and Latin than white.

Overall, the post-school closure rate for “loneliness” was 31.9%, but it dropped to 22.9% among black children and 17.9% among whites, compared to 48.4% among whites. With more than 3% of all groups enrolled before the end of class, the increase in loneliness among singles was significant. On the “optimistic or positive” metric, 36.4% of black children behaved, 30.7% in Latinic families and only 24.6% among whites – a decline in all three cases, but the lowest in whites under 55.7 was 40.2% for Latin children and 49.8 for blacks. % Compared to%

Raviv’s explanation is that he may not have been prepared to deal with the difficult conditions of the locks when the whites generally reached a high level of training. “It may be unusual for white families to start to decline,” she said. “For some low-income people, it may not be that much.”

But black and Latin families suffered in other ways. Beyond the board, there is a high probability that a family member has contacted COVID-19. Unemployment, homelessness, health insurance; Medicine, health care, food and PPP. They are hard to find. According to the study, black and Latin children have a similar mental health problem, albeit less than that of white children. “These extra stresses are more likely to occur,” says Raviv.

Going forward, Raviv and colleagues write that the epidemic may be a time for educators, clinics and policymakers. The research suggests a new commitment is needed for better mental health care – especially access to tele health care. Improved access to school and community-based mental health services; Improved financial support for disadvantaged communities; And the best effort to avoid structural inequality. The plague is finally over. The emotional pain of children in each ethnic group can last a long time.

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