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Teens affected by the coronavirus crisis need more help, organisations warn


Worrying results of a survey among secondary school pupils about their mental wellbeing warrant more attention to the problem and more measures to help, according to the regional health boards’ umbrella organisation Netwerk GOR.

The Corona Health Monitor, a survey of 167,000 pupils carried out in the autumn of 2021, showed teenagers were feeling less happy than before the corona crisis.

In 2019, 84% of teenagers described themselves as (very) happy but by the autumn of 2021 this had fallen to 77%, the survey showed. Three quarters said they had been badly affected by quarantine, a covid infection or the death or hospitalisation of a family member, or a combination of issues.

Pupils who ended up spending time in hospital or experienced the death of a loved one suffered the most severe long-term effects, the survey showed. Some 6% could be at risk of serious psycho-social problems, such as stress, loneliness and suicidal thoughts, the organisations warned.

Girls are more prone to these problems than boys, as well as pupils at trade schools or from a more disadvantaged background.

The majority of teenagers, around two thirds, managed to pick up the thread after a difficult period, the survey found, and over half said they had faith in the future.

That percentage was highest among pupils in pre-university school streams and a financially secure family background.

What the help proposed by GOR entails or what resources would be needed was not made clear.

Youth psychiatric care services are organised by local authorities and part funded by national government but have said they have been underfunded for years.

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