Many Cambodian children have become the indirect victims of Covid-19, which has impacted their mental health and the activities for their personal growth.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is a worldwide tragedy which has killed millions of people around the world. Apart from this, issues surrounding mental health have become a major crisis faced by everyone, including children.
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that children’s minds have been gravely affected by their concerns, stresses, and fears that relatives may die. Unlike adults, it is difficult for children to receive treatment for their mental health.
Other research has indicated that, compared to adults, negative effects on children’s well being and mental health last longer. This is a result of their attitudes and their resilient capacity.
If you have concerns for your children and you want to have a clearer understanding of their mental health issues, below is some important information from Focus’ interview with Hoeur Sethul, psychologist from KCPS Counseling and Psycho-Education Services.
Do you believe the pandemic has had an effect on children’s well-being?
The spread of Covid-19 has had great impacts on children’s physical and emotional development and growth. For instance, the necessity of online learning can provide children a new experience with technology, which is good for brain development; however, the region of the brain responsible for social interaction is not being fully developed, as each part of the human brain has its own function. So, when a part of the brain is not being fully utilized, it will affect the general growth.
Does the current Covid-19 situation have a negative impact on children’s mental health?
If we focus on children’s mental health, it is obvious to conclude that temporary school closures, social distancing, and long-term confinement at home will trigger some issues for children. These issues may include stress, anxiety, and anger. The lack of daily social interaction is a main cause of emotional pressure and, simultaneously, social connections, which are important for communication skills, will also be lost. Long term stay-at-home orders will cause them to face loneliness and stress, spurring spoiled and angry behavior, as it relates to their emotional pressure.
What are the causes of children’s mental health problems?
Normally, many factors contribute to the issue. Each family has a different set of rules for raising their children. Some families understand what children need, such as playing around the house, which is an aiding factor for their mental health. However, some parents are occupied with work, causing them to lack bonding activities with their children, which is a major obstacle to the solutions. As children should maintain social interactions with their surroundings, family plays a major role in filling that void for children.
What are the symptoms of how Covid-19’s affects children’s minds?
Parents should observe their children’s irregularities – whether they get adequate sleep as usual or whether they frequently have nightmares. Also, parents should watch their children’s behaviour – whether they are being rebellious or developing bad relationships with other members of the families, unlike in previous times. Overall, parents should focus on the behavioural and emotional symptoms that their children tend to showcase.
What are the parents’ roles to protect and help their children’s mental health during the pandemic?
- Collect information on the issues they are facing from WHO and other relevant organizations
- Try to understand their children’s needs, as they are likely to become stressed
- Ask their children how they feel, as it can help parents and children better understand their emotions
- Reduce screen time and encourage them to communicate with other people
- Do some activities with their children such as sports and sightseeing
- Design specific study-and-play schedules, as it will provide children with expectations and can create an enlightening and energetic environment for them
What are the negative impacts on children if the issue cannot be resolved?
- Children will remain stressed, leading to aggressive behaviours
- When children grow up, they are most likely to face mental health problems
- Due to a prolonged lack of social interaction, children will become shut off from communication
- Children will have less interaction within society and suffer poor communication skills with others