Mental health of children and youth amid COVID‑19 in Quebec
COVID‑19 has profoundly impacted the lives of children, youth and families. There is growing evidence that the pandemic and measures meant to curb spread of the virus, such as school closures and mask mandates, had important repercussions on the mental health of children and adolescents. However, the breadth of the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health is still unclear. This project will determine how the pandemic affected youth mental health in Quebec, including suicide attempt, drug overdose, eating disorders, and injuries due to child maltreatment. The project will identify children and adolescents at greater risk of mental health problems during the pandemic. We will use a large dataset containing all hospitalizations in Quebec, Canada. We will extract data on boys and girls under 20 years of age before and during the pandemic (2006-2019 vs 2020-2021). We will study hospitalizations for suicide attempt, drug overdose, alcohol intoxication, eating disorders, and home injuries due to maltreatment. We will assess whether socioeconomic status, mental health conditions before the pandemic, chronic diseases, and other factors influenced the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health. We will measure time trends in hospital admissions for mental health conditions and maltreatment-related injuries among boys and girls before and during COVID-19, including the impact of pandemic control measures. We will also follow children over time to identify the social, demographic, and clinical characteristics that influenced the risk of hospitalization for mental health problems and injuries during the pandemic. This project will determine how COVID‑19 affected the mental health of children and adolescents in Quebec, and will identify vulnerable groups in greater need of support during pandemic recovery and future public health crises.