Study finds depression and anxiety in youth doubled during the first year of the pandemic


NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Back to school can be a stressful time for students but this year could be extra challenging.

A study published this month found depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled in the first year of the pandemic. This was a meta-analysis conducted by researchers in Canada looking at 29 studies with a sample of more than 80,000 youths across the world. It found one in four children are “experiencing clinically elevated” depression symptoms. One in five children are dealing with heightened anxiety symptoms.

So, why is this happening? The study pointing out reasons like the loss of peer interactions we saw last year. But also, about 80 percent of children rely on school based services to address mental health needs.

This school year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is partnering up with the Massachusetts school mental health consortium focusing on putting in place “comprehensive school mental health systems.” Those are partnerships that connect the school to the district, the family and the community providing “evidence based” mental health services.

One limitation noted in the study is that data did vary considerably across the studies.

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