The isolation because of Covid is taking a toll on the mental health of adolescents, said psychiatrists who are seeing them in the current wave.
The anxiety is getting aggravated amongst children who have pre-existing stress and also have memories of the second wave. Some of them may have lost a dear one to Covid, said mental health professionals.
In many homes, adolescents have been infected but parents have not and children and teenagers are being isolated to protect grandparents.
Two siblings, 10 and 11 years, got infected while the other members did not and the children had been isolated. This impacted them so much that one of them said “it is better to die”. The parents approached a psychiatrist.
Another 10-year-old who was in isolation for a week told a counsellor, “What will happen if I get Covid again?”
“A section of children are under significant stress and are getting depressed and agitated. It is taking a big toll on their mental health, which is manifested in a strong sense of anxiety, worries about the future for themselves and their parents or grandparents,” said psychiatrist Sanjay Garg.
“Some of them are also coming with post traumatic stress disorder because they have lost someone close to Covid in the past and are reliving the memories of that loss,” he said.
In almost all families, people are getting infected and schools have noticed that a significant number of students are absent from online class.
Many parents are working from home and are forced to put children in isolation to protect other members.
“When children with symptoms are locked in a room, not able to step out or interact apart from one person who is the primary caregiver, it is natural for them to feel lonely, low and irritable,” said psychologist Ruvena Sanyal.
“There is no outlet and though there is the option of reading or listening to music, because of headaches and other symptoms children don’t feel like doing any of it,” she said.
Garg said that in some cases, children are angry because they are not vaccinated.
Psychiatrist Praveen Kumar said that the anxiety is more pronounced in children who have pre existing stress conditions or ADHD.
“In fact, in families where there is marital discord children find it difficult to cope,” Kumar said.
Among some children, there was an anxiety of getting infected again and a repeat of the painful isolation period, said counselling psychologist Ranjana Roy.