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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 289-290

Mortality of families rage with COVID, The MENTAL health of children pushed to the edge


1 Department of Special Education, APL Global International School, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnatak, India

Date of Submission22-May-2021
Date of Decision16-Jun-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication22-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Pallerla Srikanth
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdrntruhs.jdrntruhs_61_21

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How to cite this article:
Wilson J, Srikanth P. Mortality of families rage with COVID, The MENTAL health of children pushed to the edge. J NTR Univ Health Sci 2021;10:289-90

How to cite this URL:
Wilson J, Srikanth P. Mortality of families rage with COVID, The MENTAL health of children pushed to the edge. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 May 28];10:289-90. Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2021/10/4/289/339822



To the Editor,

COVID-19 has been wildly spreading worldwide, with India being second in the mortality rates as a statistic in the Worldometer. A vast increase in the prevalence of the virus during the second and third wave with alarming death tolls has induced more changes and needs in most families and communities. With family structures being altered and routines being interrupted, and with economic and employment uncertainties, there is a decline in the mental health of families, which is the ongoing scenario in many states across India. A recent research suggests that 'Children' playing an integral role in every family and community undergo various degrees of anxieties and biopsychosocial stressors due to the prevailing circumstances of social isolation and contagion of COVID.[1] As the COVID spread continues, children lose their families and become susceptible to psychopathological conditions and mental health declines. A longitudinal study revealed that with the death of a significant family member, a child is vulnerable to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[2]

Death and COVID attacks on the family members have left young children's hearts in depths of grief. The children experience bereavement reactions and exacerbation of mental health issues during the sudden death of a loved one.[3] Some children might experience impairing psychopathology, leading from mood to conduct disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, and suicidal tendencies. Lack of access to proper medical care and precautions can also make it very painful and difficult for the child to watch their parents/significant other losing their life due to unavailability of medical resources. Prama and colleagues have stated the untold behaviors of social stereotypes and stigmas accompanying COVID-19, which are a proven challenge for families who recover from disease as they are kept distant from their children who need their parents the most.[4] Bronfenbrenner Ecological theory shreds off evidence that the Bidirectional relationship between children and ecological sub-systems are essential for the culmination of values, beliefs, and development of mental health.[5] Interruptions in the mutual family interactions due to traumatic events of loss following the pandemic can disrupt the child's development.

The significant differences that arise between individuals of high versus low socioeconomic status (SES) and urban versus rural area of residence play a huge role in life and health outcomes in India.[6] The appalling fall in the economy has left many family members unemployed, which affects the child's education and fragments their continuity towards learning [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Biopsychosocial stressors within families and media projected on children

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Daily routines are being altered by curfews and limited access to friends, outdoor play, and socialization, making the child virtually active. With terror being flashed on all sides of media about the virus, children fear not to hear the dreadful impacts of the virus on their significant others. The children exhibit challenging externalizing behavior such as arguing or acting out, and undergo emotional traumas during the pandemic.[7]

Evidence from cross-sectional studies suggests that bereaved children face complicated or prolonged grief reaction (PGR) due to parents' sudden death, which can contribute to functional impairments in children.[8] The loss of loved ones calls for help wholistically involving psychosocial, physical, mental, social, and cultural well-being. Mental health professionals and social workers can provide recurred counselling, conduct awareness campaigns on social stigmas, community-based services and create accessibility to proper health services. Stigmas attached to mental health support should be uplifted and professional help from Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social workers, Special educators, Physicians, Therapists, and Public health workers for children who lost their parents can be effective, if the State and Central Governments work appropriate steps towards public-health. Caregivers can affirm protection and help children face the uncertainties they feel anxious about. Adults can be supportive by communicating with a coherent explanation of the situation and monitoring information about the pandemic on other virtually connecting platforms that the child uses. Children left desolate can reach the child helpline 1098 anytime where help is at the step.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an ocean in a drop”

The change we make can be small, yet powerful. Adoptions, Fund raising, Donations, Awareness campaigns, Support groups and charity are some of the forms of help which enable many lives to exist beyond the terrors of the Corona Virus.

Acknowledgment

We convey our sincere gratitude to Ms. Sridevi Maithily Venugopal, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
de Figueiredo CS, Sandre PC, Portugal LCL, Mázala-de-Oliveira T, da Silva Chagas L, Raony Í, et al. COVID-19 pandemic impact on children and adolescents' mental health: Biological, environmental, and social factors. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2021;106:110171.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Melhem NM, Porta G, Shamseddeen W, Walker Payne M, Brent DA. Grief in children and adolescents bereaved by sudden parental death. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2011;68:911-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Kumar A, Nayar KR, Bhat LD. Debate: COVID-19 and children in India: Debate: COVID-19 and children in India. Child Adolesc Ment Health 2020;25:165-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Bhattacharya P, Banerjee D, Rao TS. The “untold” side of COVID-19: Social stigma and its consequences in India. Indian J Psychol Med 2020;42:382-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Bronfenbrenner U. Ecological systems theory. In: Encyclopedia of Psychology. Vol. 3. Washington: American Psychological Association; 2000. p. 129-33.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Goswami B, Mandal R, Nath HK. Covid-19 pandemic and economic performances of the states in India. Econ Anal Policy 2021;69:461-79.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Dalton L, Rapa E, Stein A. Protecting the psychological health of children through effective communication about COVID-19. Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2020;4:346-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Ma Z, Idris S, Zhang Y, Zewen L, Wali A, Ji Y, et al. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak on education and mental health of Chinese children aged 7-15 years: An online survey. BMC Pediatr 2021;21:95.  Back to cited text no. 8
    


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