Research in Northern Ireland indicates that “insufficient attention” has been given to how children and young people are affected by the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions it has imposed have had a “strong impact” on children and young people.
This is made clear in a report by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Youth (NICCY), Kula Yasuma, based on a survey conducted in the country.
More than half (52%) of 16-year-olds who participated in the survey felt that their mental and emotional health had deteriorated during the pandemic.
According to the report, “insufficient attention” has been paid to how the lives of children and young people are affected.
Aspects taken into account in the report include education, physical and mental health and well-being.
But the document states that some “restrictive measures” were necessary “to protect the population from the spread of the virus.”
“The long-term impact of the epidemic on the mental health of children and young people can be significant, especially if appropriate support and intervention are not provided,” he warns.
The report is entitled New and better natural (New and Better Normal, in free translation) It also highlights that many of the existing disparities have increased.
The results are based on responses from 4,385 young adults through questionnaires and focus groups.
Some concerns were raised earlier elsewhere.
A report by Britain’s National Office for Children had earlier said families of children with special educational needs and disabilities had felt “forgotten” in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many essential treatments and services they were relying on have been suspended and have not been fully restored.
The Northern Ireland report, in turn, draws attention to the widespread suspension of services and its effects on children.
Many face-to-face services in the early years of life for 0-3 year olds and their families have been discontinued.
“The risk of increased emotional or behavioral problems in younger children due to the pandemic is concerning,” Koulla Yiasouma says in her report.
“Healthcare professionals have been relocated to provide care and services related to Covid-19, which has reduced the number of health assessments and home visits.”
“Reductions in counseling, as well as restrictions on access to other early childhood services, have removed an important support system for fathers, particularly first-time mothers and those from disadvantaged groups.”
More than a quarter (27%) of young people surveyed – also said they are unable to “receive medical treatment during the pandemic for a health problem not related to coronavirus”.
A young man who participated in focus groups lost his mother during the pandemic and found it difficult to get support to cope with grief.
Sim [procurei apoio para o luto]But there is a waiting list and I think it’s along the Amazon River.”
Outside visits to youth in the juvenile justice center, including family visits, have also been prohibited for some periods.
The report notes that “existing barriers faced by children with disabilities or complex health needs in accessing support and services have significantly worsened during the pandemic.”
In a follow-up study conducted by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, on behalf of NICCY, several experts also expressed serious concerns about the safety of children and young people during the pandemic.
Related concerns have already been raised by the Northern Ireland Protection Council.
‘Guilty of spreading the virus’
According to the report, young people also “feel negative stereotypes and are accused of spreading the virus.”
The text states that 585 police notices have been issued to under-18s for violating the 2020-2021 coronavirus health protection regulations.
The report explained that “although media reports indicated that these violations were common, the vast majority of children and youth strictly adhered to the regulations and directives issued.”
“However, children and young adults say they have felt demonized and discriminated against by adults when they were in public, as restrictions have been relaxed.”
“Many felt judged and scapegoated when they met their friends in public.”
Many children and young people also said they felt “lonely and trapped” during the closures and because of the restrictions.
The text adds: “It is clear from the children and youth with whom we interact through questionnaires and focus groups how important friendships and relationship development during childhood and adolescence are, and how much they feel restricted in their social interactions.”
“Survey data show that declines in games, leisure and recreational activities have had a devastating impact on the physical health and emotional well-being of many children.”
The NICCY report states that every effort should be made to ensure that school activities such as sports, music, clubs and theatre are implemented.
The vast majority of children were also out of school, depending on distance learning, from March to June 2020 and again from January to Easter 2021.
The report highlights that this has had a particular impact on children from low-income families.
Poor children are particularly affected
“Children in poverty were identified as being particularly affected by the switch to online education, as they were more likely to have no access to an appropriate digital device or access online,” the report says.
“They were more likely to live in accommodation that did not have enough indoor or outdoor space for study and recreational activities while Close. “
“The ongoing closure of schools has undoubtedly exacerbated the inequalities in education that were well documented prior to the pandemic.”
The survey for the NICCY report showed that 41% of year 7 respondents (10-11 years old) and 52% of 16-year-olds felt that their mental and emotional health had deteriorated during the pandemic.
A large study conducted before the pandemic has already revealed that worry Depression was 25% more common in children and young adults in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK.
The NICCY report states that the Northern Ireland government has acted faster in helping families who are entitled to free school lunches than other governments in the UK.
However, this was a rare positive note.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, more children, young people and their families are living in poverty, waiting lists for healthcare are unacceptably long, the education of many of them has been undermined by lack of access to digital equipment, children in shelters etc. Vulnerable people have not received the support that they need it.”
The document includes a series of recommendations and states that infants, children and young adults should be prioritized in the Northern Ireland government’s plan to recover from Covid-19.
Meanwhile in Brazil…
In Brazil, the pandemic has also exacerbated inequality in education.
One year after the outbreak of the pandemic, Many students still cannot access the internet or devices to study online.
While the networks and students with the most advanced structure (even if there are setbacks) in distance education, part of the students and from poor places could not stay in touch and lost the content and enthusiasm for studies.
At the same time, The percentage of young students looking for work has grown As a result of the economic crisis exacerbated by the pandemic – fueling concern that the lack of an exclusive dedication to studies may reduce access to higher education.
A study shows that young people who missed school content between 2020 and 2021 may have a Loss of future income which, if added together, can exceed R$700 one billion – which could reach R$1.5 trillion if nothing is done to change this course.
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