Mental health and substance use among children and adolescents amidst COVID-19- A Systematic Review

Meherali, Salima M | $46,886

Alberta University of Alberta 2020 CIHR Operating Grant

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the social distancing measures that have been implemented worldwide have caused disruptions to the daily routines of people. Children and adolescents are generally healthy and do not require much health care outside of regular checkups. However, mental health care is very important for children and adolescents. The COVID‑19 pandemic may worsen existing mental health problems among children and adolescents and may lead to harmful consequences such as substance abuse. Organizations such as UNICEF and WHO have developed some tools and initiated phone lines to improve the mental health of young children during COVID-19. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also recommended several strategies to maintain the mental wellness of young children and adolescents during the COVID‑19 pandemic. However, not much is known about the long-term mental health effects of large-scale disease outbreaks on children and adolescents. Therefore, it is important to monitor the impact on children’s and adolescent’s mental health and substance use status and how to help them to improve their mental health outcomes in the time of current or future pandemic. The aim of this knowledge synthesis study is to identify and evaluate the effectiveness of different interventions employed during the previous and current pandemic to promote children’s and adolescent’s mental health and to prevent substance use.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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