The Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of Canadian Children and Youth

Tracy Vaillancourt et al.

Children and youth flourish in environments that are predictable, safe, and structured. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted these protective factors making it difficult for children and youth to adapt and thrive. Pandemic-related school closures, family stress, and trauma have led to increases in mental health problems in some children and youth, an area of health that was already in crisis well before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Because mental health problems early in life are associated with significant impairment across family, social, and academic domains, immediate measures are needed to mitigate the potential for long-term sequalae.

… It is time the Canadian government prioritizes the mental health of children and youth in its management of the pandemic and beyond.

… Children are not the immediate face of COVID-19, but they are the face of its future. This future may
well involve lasting harms to a generation if we do not act now … Any nationally led response to COVID-19, and beyond, must recognize that there is no health without mental health (Chisholm 1954) and that children and youth are an essential component of this response.

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