CFR Alumna Hope Nichols Featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer: One in Five Children in China Showed Depressive Symptoms After Coronavirus Quarantine. Here’s How Parents Can Help.
April, 29, 2020 | Children whose lives were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic are beginning to feel a strain on their mental health, new research suggests.
In a study published last week in JAMA Network Open, 1,784 children in second through sixth grades in the Hubei province of China, where the coronavirus emerged, were surveyed to assess their mental health following coronavirus shutdowns. The study found that about one in five — 20% — reported symptoms of depression after their schools had been closed for a month. Results were similar for anxiety symptoms, suggesting that serious infectious diseases might influence the mental health of children.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2% to 3% of children ages 6 to 12 suffered from depression before the pandemic.
Hope Nichols, a family therapist who practices in Center City, said this week that she wasn’t surprised by the increasing numbers of children showing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
“This is a disruption,” Nichols said. “It’s a big change in the system. And lots of people — young people, old people — can be triggered with anxiety or depression due to a sudden change.”