COVID-19 negatively impacted children’s mental health in Kashmir

Children, according to doctors, are the most sensitive to anxiety and stress.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of children under the age of 18, with hundreds of parents sending their children to hospitals for treatment.

Doctors believe that children are the most vulnerable to worry and stress, especially after the frequent lockdowns confining their movement within their homes.

Children have become aggressive, addicted to smartphone

One such kid Jamid Bashir, a seventh-grade student from southern Kashmir’s Pampore area, has also been literally locked up in his house for six consecutive months this year. The restrictions imposed by the government have ended, but the terrible Coronavirus-induced lockdown has already wreaked havoc on his memories.

Jamid, who is fed up with being confined within the four walls of his house, appears to be so annoyed that he can’t even reply to a friend’s greeting.

“He is up all night and frequently screams. We don’t let him leave the house because we’re afraid about his addiction to smartphones, which makes him forget about home. As a result, he becomes more aggressive,” his father, who preferred not to reveal his name, said.

Parents seek doctors’ help to alter their children’s behaviour and mental health

The seemingly worried father said his son had quarrels with the family, which includes his mother, father and younger sister, over little issues.

“I spoke to a doctor about it and he advised me to keep my son busy with schoolwork, indoor games, and pleasant conversations,” Jamid’s father said.

He has now bought a carrom board, cricket bat and a volleyball to keep his children busy, while the parent duo is also playing along with them in their free time.

Government-enforced lockdown deteriorated the mental health scenario

Pertinently, COVID-19 has confined millions of individuals throughout the world to their homes for months due to its spread. Kashmir has shown a severe deterioration, as far as mental health scenario is concerned.

Due to a huge population suffering from different mental health issues as a result of the instability engulfing the region, the number of people suffering from mental health concerns increased after August 5, 2019, and the subsequent COVID-19 lockdown, during which the valley was closed for months together.

IMHANS Srinagar playing a vital role

In Kashmir, children with mental health problems are primarily treated at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) Srinagar’s Child Guidance and Wellbeing Centre (CGWC).

According to CGWC in charge Dr Zaid Wani, there has been no schooling and very little physical activity for youngsters in Kashmir for the past two years. He opines that children have become addicted to smartphones and social media, both of which are harmful to children.

More than 14000 children have been served at the CWGC since 2018, and the treatment is offered free of charge.

Doctors at the institute believe that any sickness has a significant influence on mental health, particularly in youngsters. They say that parents should allow their children to use social media and smartphones in moderation.