Children, despite being less affected by COVID, are bearing a disproportionate burden of the implications of the pandemic in terms of physical as well as mental health, said a study by Atmashakti Trust, Odisha Shramajeebee Manch and Mahila Shramajeebee Manch.
The prolonged school closure and movement restriction caused fear, anxiety, stress and social bearings among children.
As schools reopen, addressing the mental wellbeing of these children will play a crucial role in helping them to overcome psychological distress and adjust smoothly in a post-covid classroom, noted the report.
Conducted initially with 2219 school going children of Class 1 to 8 from 84 blocks of 16 rural districts of Odisha, the report says “almost half of children (49.8 %) reportedly could not get required support from their family members to deal mainly with their emotional, social as well as learning support needs during the pandemic.
Most importantly, out of 2219 children, 91.5% were from government-run schools, 84.7% were from schools under School and Mass Education Dept. and 6.8% were from schools managed by ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department, Odisha.
The study will cover 50000 students to understand the mental wellbeing of children and the report will be shared.
Lack of access to online education also played a major role in children’s elevated mental stress. 94.3% of the children interviewed for the study reported that they did not have access to a smartphone making their learning difficult and stressful.
Online education was attended merely by 10.2% of children. Even 17% of children, who attended online classes anyway, showed their discontent, saying that it was challenging for them on many fronts.
Shockingly, 73.2% of children reported that they experienced mental and physical abuse during the pandemic.
Also, 47.3% of children said that they were engaged in household work to support their families.