The effects of COVID-19 on the mental health of young people

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Shekinah Amaka Obinna, a Nigerian and currently a medical student at Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The prevalent COVID-19 pandemic has become a worldwide concern affecting the quality of people’s life. Aside the countless number of deaths that has been recorded, one major aspect that is strongly affected is the mental health of the population especially that of the young people.  The youth make up about 16% of the world’s population.

The most energetic period of life is the youthful age. It is the peak of liveliness where a lot of adventure, excitement and enthusiasm take place but with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it has taken a whole downturn of events especially on mental health of the population.

According to World Health Organization (W.H.O), mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

There are three components of mental well-being: emotional, psychological and social well-being.

Majority of the youth are still in their learning years and so are affected greatly with their academics.

  1. There is decreased academic performance due to online or distant learning.
  2. Lack of motivation.
  3.  Absence of interactive learning environment.
  4. Distraction caused by internet, social media, video games and the likes.

Generally, the onset of COVID-19 outbreak has lowered emotional wellbeing by 74%. Under normal circumstance, there is high evidence that being outdoor is associated with a wide range of positive emotions. With conditions of social distancing where outdoor activities are severely reduced and restricted, the feelings of loneliness can be heightened.

Increase screen time may interfere with face to face interactions which may lead to mood alterations, boredom, irritability and anger. Individual emotional burdens such as unemployment and financial insecurities are other stressors.

Young people who have suffered from serious COVID-19 illness or who have lost family members or loved ones battle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a study of home quarantined youths in China, during the first month of COVID-19 outbreak, 12.8% had post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) levels consistent with PTSS and distress associated with negative coping styles. Symptom levels were expected to increase with time as quarantine continued.

In August 2020, the Centres for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) published results of a large U.S web-based survey of more than 5000 adults. Suicidal ideation was significantly said to be higher for younger respondents aged 18-24 years with percentage 25.5%.

Neuropsychiatric symptoms like insomnia, anxiety and depression have been associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interventions like use of interactive internet based platforms, safe communal activities like book clubs, movies, bingo and outdoor family visits on lawns or in parking lots with precautions of social distancing and personal protective equipment can be implemented to reduce isolation among young people.

New treatment options like telehealth to identify and treat mental health conditions can be executed.

REFERENCES

  1. Phebe Tucker, MD & Christopher S. Czapla, MD (2021). Post-COVID Stress Disorder: – Another Emerging Consequence of the Global pandemic. Psychiatric Times, 38(1), pp. 1-2. 
  2. Stieger, S et al., (2021). Emotional well-Being Under Conditions of Lockdown: An Experience Sampling Study in Austria during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Happiness Studies, pp. 1-2.

About the author

Shekinah Amaka Obinna, is a Nigerian and currently a medical student at Sumy State University, Sumy, Ukraine.

She is a holder of a number of certificates with reputable institutions around the world.  She has several international memberships; amongst them are Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, Impact Youth Sustainability, and World Medical Association.

She recently served as one of the Ambassadors for Women History Month of Wayfoundation, India.

She is a G4G Ambassador and promotes STEMI initiatives.

She currently works as a reviewer for Harvard Public Health Review.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

African cooperation on peace ‘increasingly strong’, Security Council told

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

The historical performance of women in human health

Mental health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

MEPs agree on future regional and cohesion funding

Sakharov Prize 2021: Parliament to announce candidates

‘More time’ agreed for buffer zone, to spare three million Syrian civilians in Idlib

Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment – and we will pay the price

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

COVID-19: Commission steps up research funding and selects 17 projects in vaccine development, treatment and diagnostics

Coronavirus: new procedure to facilitate and speed up approval of adapted vaccines against COVID-19 variants

These are the most innovative cities in the world

How COVID-19 revealed 3 critical AI procurement blindspots that could put lives at risk

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

Coronavirus: Macro-financial assistance agreement provides for €80 million disbursement to North Macedonia

Digital Finance Package: Commission sets out new, ambitious approach to encourage responsible innovation to benefit consumers and businesses

Should trade continue to be global after the pandemic?

UN chief applauds Bangladesh for ‘opening borders’ to Rohingya refugees in need

The European Commission and Austria secure COVID-19 vaccines for the Western Balkans

Violent disorder is on the rise. Is inequality to blame?

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

Ditching plastic straws isn’t enough. Here’s how to achieve zero waste.

A call for a new crop of innovators

Planet’s Health is Our Health and the Reverse is True

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €24.9 billion in pre-financing to Italy

EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application in the EU

EU to pay a dear price if the next crisis catches Eurozone stagnant and deflationary; dire statistics from Eurostat

The results of Finland’s basic income experiment are in. Is it working?

Growing a new coral reef in a fraction of the time with a fragment of the coral

EU elections update: Can the EU voters vote unaffected from fake news and online disinformation?

This plastic-free bag dissolves in water

Canada has high levels of well-being and solid growth but trade tensions and housing market pose risks while inclusiveness could be improved

Global leaders adopt agenda to overcome COVID-19 crisis and avoid future pandemics

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

FROM THE FIELD: Weather reports come to aid of Uganda’s farmers

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Mali revealed in new report

UN Envoy urges Burundi leaders to ‘seize opportunities for national unity and peace’

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: funding for Palestine refugees, families today, tech surveillance

Meeting the crypto regulatory challenge

Business models inspired by nature are the future

Business is a crucial partner in solving the mental health challenge

3 important lessons from 20 years of working with social entrepreneurs

3 ways to ensure the internet’s future is creative, collaborative and fair

UN must bring more women police officers into the fold to be effective – UN peacekeeping official

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

It’s time for the circular economy to go global – and you can help

Prospect of lasting peace ‘fading by the day’ in Gaza and West Bank, senior UN envoy warns

Does the “climate change” require ombudsman services for environment?

Not a single child spared the ‘mind-boggling violence’ of Yemen’s war

Stakeholder capitalism is urgently needed – and the COVID-19 crisis shows us why

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Climate change and health: a much needed multidisciplinary approach

Desires for national independence in Europe bound by economic realities

Brazil must immediately end threats to independence and capacity of law enforcement to fight corruption

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: