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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 159-162

COVID-19, Social Distancing: Mental Health Implications for Children, Adolescents, and Families – Pediatric and Psychiatric Perspectives

1 Department of Psychiatry, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, New Jersey, USA
2 Department of Pediatrics, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, New Jersey, USA
3 Department of Psychiatry, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, New Jersey, USA
4 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Cooper University Health Care, Camden, New Jersey, USA

Correspondence Address:
Rama Rao Gogineni
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, 410 Baird Road, Merion Station, PA 19066
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_55_20

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COVID-19 is creating a mental health crisis among children and youth around the globe. At the time of this writing, more than 1.5 billion, i.e., 91% of the world's students are out of school. The pandemic is raising fears, and causing clinginess, distraction, irritability, anxiety, depression, lethargy, impaired social interaction, and reduced appetite. Adolescents are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, distress, low self-esteem, substance use disorder, and suicide. Mental health consequences of the pandemic can be categorized as adjustment disorders, reactions to social isolation, reactions to family and family events, violence against women and children, and intensification of preexisting mental health conditions. Major challenges are being experienced by those struggling with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorders, medical complications, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other conditions. After a short description of each category, we provide case examples, which, though fictitious, bear sufficient resemblance to real-life situations encountered in our daily practice to serve as useful vignettes. The mental health community, social psychiatrists and pediatricians, and other health-care providers should take an active role to address these serious issues.

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