COVID-19 impact pushing 1 in 6 Nigerian young adults into depression — UNICEF Report -GCFRNG
Abuja: The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children in Nigeria was increasing, with one in six young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 years old suffered from depression.
UNICEF said this in its flagship report, “The State of the World’s Children 2021; On My Mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health, ”published Tuesday in Abuja.
The report is UNICEF’s most comprehensive look at the mental health of children, adolescents and caregivers in the 21st century.
He estimated that the current impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health was a “tip of the iceberg,” as the trend was likely to continue for years to come.
However, the report said the negative trend could be reversed if the federal government increased funding for mental health.
“What we see now is just a ‘tip of the iceberg.’ As COVID-19 enters its third year, the impact of the pandemic on the mental health and well-being of children and youth will continue to weigh heavily.
“One in six Nigerian youth between the ages of 15 and 24 often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things. UNICEF data shows that, globally, one in seven children has been directly affected by the confinements.
“More than 1.6 billion children have suffered some loss of education; disruption of routines, education, and recreation. Concerns about family income and health make many young people fearful, angry, and worried about their future.
“Although nearly 46,000 adolescents die by suicide each year, large differences persist between mental health needs and mental health financing. Only two percent of government health budgets are allocated to mental health spending globally, ”the report said.
He also said that mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability and conduct disorders, could harm the health, life outcomes and earning capacity of young people.
According to the report, globally, more than one in seven adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 has been diagnosed with a mental health problem.
The report quoted Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, as saying that the closure in Nigeria increased the risk of violence and abuse, especially among girls.
“It has been a long 18 months for all of us, especially the children.
“With lockdowns across the country and movement restrictions related to the pandemic in Nigeria, children have spent indelible years of their lives away from family, friends, classrooms and play, which are key elements of one’s own life. childhood.
“Children have also suffered an increase in violence and abuse, especially girls. Even before the pandemic, too many children were burdened with untreated mental health problems.
“This has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The impact is significant and sadly the tip of the iceberg, ”said Hawkins.
He noted that mental health and physical health were an integral part of health, therefore they should not be viewed or approached differently, citing estimates from the London School of Economics that, globally, health problems mental health problems that have resulted in disability or death among young people incurred a financial problem. loss of nearly $ 390 billion.
Therefore, the report called on governments, public and private sector partners to act to promote mental health for all children, adolescents and caregivers.
He suggested that this could be achieved by investing in the mental health of children and adolescents, breaking the silence surrounding mental illness by addressing stigma and advocacy to improve understanding of mental health.