Teenagers in school. Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott
Mental health problems are prevalent among children and teenagers due to Covid-19, with boys tending to repress problems while girls are prone to depression, the president of the association of youth psychiatrists in Switzerland says.
This content was published on January 11, 2022 - 11:44 January 11, 2022 - 11:44 Keystone-SDA/dos
Psiquiatras preocupados com saúde mental de jovens suíços
Oliver Bilke-Hentsch told Tamedia newspapers on Tuesday that girls in particular can fall into a state of meaninglessness where they lose aspirations and interest in learning.
“This phenomenon has greatly increased during the pandemic,” said Bilke-Hentsch, who added that knock-on problems then include eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorders – for example after a Covid-19-related death in the family.
Boys often repress problems in activities like gaming or cannabis smoking, the psychiatrist said. Parents and teachers should watch out for warning signs like apathy, depression, irritability or excessively impulsive behaviour, he said.
Youths who become noticeably quiet or fearful are particularly vulnerable, as well as those who are constantly on social media where they compare their own lives to those of their heroes, Bilke-Hentsch said.
The mental health of younger people has been a recurring question since the pandemic began two years ago, with increases in anti-social behaviour and suicidal thoughts noted.
This week, with all schools across the country now back from Christmas, the impact of the virus is again a theme, with some parents unhappy about the obligation for children to wear masks during lessons; on Monday in the capital, Bern, some 500 marched in protest against such measures.
Also on Monday, Tox Info Suisse, which records cases of poisoning each year, noted a“worrying increase” in“intentional poisonings” in 2021 among under-16-year-olds.
The number of such cases has been rising steadily over the past years, but the 2021 figure was nevertheless significant, Tox Info Suisse said: 934 cases were recorded after 650 the year before, a rise of 40%.
The group said it was not able to confirm or look into whether or not the rise was linked to the changes brought in by the pandemic.
The organisation writes that while the majority of cases involving young children are accidents with household or industrial products, for teenagers and adults most cases are intentional, and are due to suicide attempts (70%) or substance abuse issues (14%).
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