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Mental Health of Children and Adolescents: Tackling the Consequences of Major Crises

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 7101

Special Issue Editor

Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Interests: integrated care; innovative health care models; mental health of marginalized groups; early parent-child interventions in postnatal period

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic—now two years old and having had far-reaching restrictions on daily life almost everywhere in the world—has shown us how much the mental and physical health of our children and adolescents depend on the continuity of educational services, social participation, exchange with like-minded people, opportunities for exercise and leisure, and a stable living environment. The incidence of impaired well-being, escalating to mental illnesses, has increased significantly under pandemic conditions. In addition, conflicts continue to emerge in various regions of the world, leading to flight and displacement and exposing children and adolescents to traumatic experiences.

Early and low-threshold counseling and care services are needed to identify mental disorders at an early stage and to be able to intervene in a low-threshold manner. This is the only way to preserve developmental opportunities and prevent long-term disorders that limit lifelong social and occupational participation.

Researchers from various fields of health and social care are invited to contribute to this Special Issue of IJERPH with their findings.

Dr. Anne Berghöfer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • armed conflicts
  • flight and displacement
  • children and adolescent mental health
  • health-related quality of life
  • long-lockdown syndrome
  • long-COVID syndrome
  • digital media utilization or abuse
  • underreporting and hidden figures
  • child neglect
  • domestic violence
  • social determinants
  • health disparity
  • social support
  • resilience
  • longitudinal analysis
  • epidemiology
  • social care
  • mental health care
  • integrated care
  • low-threshold services
  • crisis intervention/services

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

27 pages, 1537 KiB  
Article
SARS-CoV-2 and Adolescent Psychiatric Emergencies at the Tübingen University Hospital: Analyzing Trends, Diagnoses, and Contributing Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2024, 21(2), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph21020216 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
Psychiatric emergencies have increased in recent decades, particularly with the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and far too little is known about the backgrounds of these emergencies. In this study, we investigated the extent to which the number of psychiatric emergencies changed during [...] Read more.
Psychiatric emergencies have increased in recent decades, particularly with the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and far too little is known about the backgrounds of these emergencies. In this study, we investigated the extent to which the number of psychiatric emergencies changed during and in the aftermath of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) Tübingen. We considered age and psychiatric diagnoses. Additionally, we evaluated the backgrounds of the emergencies. We applied a mixed- (quantitative and qualitative) methods approach to data on emergency presentations at the CAP Tübingen from the pre-SARS-CoV-2 pandemic period (October 2019–January 2020) to Restriction Phase 1 (October 2020–January 2021), Restriction Phase 2 (October 2021–January 2022), and endemic phase (October 2022–January 2023). The total number of emergencies and those with eating disorders and affective disorders increased, while obsessive–compulsive disorders, expansive disorders and anxiety disorders decreased. The patients presenting in the pre-SARS-CoV-2 pandemic period were younger than those in the subsequent periods. We content-coded the reasons behind the emergency presentations. We also identified four areas of stressors and personality characteristics associated with the emergency presentations. In light of the increasing number of psychiatric emergencies, the long-term aim should be to meet the growing demands and create options for prevention. Full article
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14 pages, 1383 KiB  
Article
Psychopathology, Protective Factors, and COVID-19 among Adolescents: A Structural Equation Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032493 - 30 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 and the associated restrictions, mental health in children and adolescents has been increasingly discussed in the media. Negative impacts of the pandemic, including a sharp increase in psychopathology and, consequently, reduced quality of [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 and the associated restrictions, mental health in children and adolescents has been increasingly discussed in the media. Negative impacts of the pandemic, including a sharp increase in psychopathology and, consequently, reduced quality of life, appear to have particularly affected children and young people, who may be especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of isolation. Nevertheless, many children and adolescents have managed to cope well with the restrictions, without deterioration of their mental health. The present study therefore explored the links between COVID-19 infection (in oneself or a family member, as well as the death of a family member due to the virus), protective factors such as self-efficacy, resilience, self-esteem, and health-related quality of life, and measures of psychopathology such as depression scores, internalizing/externalizing problems, emotion dysregulation, and victimization. For this purpose, we examined data from 2129 adolescents (mean age = 12.31, SD = 0.67; 51% male; 6% born outside of Germany) using a structural equation model. We found medium to high loadings of the manifest variables with the latent variables (COVID-19, protective factors, and psychopathology). Protective factors showed a significant negative correlation with psychopathology. However, COVID-19 had a weak connection with psychopathology in our sample. External pandemic-related factors (e.g., restrictions) and their interaction with existing psychopathology or individual protective factors appear to have a greater influence on young people’s mental health than the impact of the virus per se. Sociopolitical efforts should be undertaken to foster prevention and promote individual resilience, especially in adolescence. Full article
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14 pages, 370 KiB  
Article
Anxiety among Adolescents and Young Adults during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Multi-Country Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10538; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710538 - 24 Aug 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
(1) Background: Adolescents-and-young-adults (AYA) are prone to anxiety. This study assessed AYA’s level of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic; and determined if anxiety levels were associated with country-income and region, socio-demographic profile and medical history of individuals. (2) Methods: A survey collected data [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Adolescents-and-young-adults (AYA) are prone to anxiety. This study assessed AYA’s level of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic; and determined if anxiety levels were associated with country-income and region, socio-demographic profile and medical history of individuals. (2) Methods: A survey collected data from participants in 25 countries. Dependent-variables included general-anxiety level, and independent-variables included medical problems, COVID-19 infection, age, sex, education, and country-income-level and region. A multilevel-multinomial-logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the association between dependent, and independent-variables. (3) Results: Of the 6989 respondents, 2964 (42.4%) had normal-anxiety, and 2621 (37.5%), 900 (12.9%) and 504 (7.2%) had mild, moderate and severe-anxiety, respectively. Participants from the African region (AFR) had lower odds of mild, moderate and severe than normal-anxiety compared to those from the Eastern-Mediterranean-region (EMR). Also, participants from lower-middle-income-countries (LMICs) had higher odds of mild and moderate than normal-anxiety compared to those from low-income-countries (LICs). Females, older-adolescents, with medical-problems, suspected-but-not-tested-for-COVID-19, and those with friends/family-infected with COVID-19 had significantly greater odds of different anxiety-levels. (4) Conclusions: One-in-five AYA had moderate to severe-anxiety during the COVID-19-pandemic. There were differences in anxiety-levels among AYAs by region and income-level, emphasizing the need for targeted public health interventions based on nationally-identified priorities. Full article
13 pages, 966 KiB  
Article
Effects of the COVID-19 Restrictions on Eating Behaviour and Eating Disorder Symptomology in Female Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(14), 8480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19148480 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2346
Abstract
Confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic imposes a burden on adolescents worldwide and may seriously impact patients with an eating disorder (ED). The current FRanconian Anorexia Nervosa during COVID-19 (FRANCO) study explored (1) perceived change of depressive and ED [...] Read more.
Confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic imposes a burden on adolescents worldwide and may seriously impact patients with an eating disorder (ED). The current FRanconian Anorexia Nervosa during COVID-19 (FRANCO) study explored (1) perceived change of depressive and ED symptomology during lockdown, (2) the role of social media, and (3) coping strategies of anorexia nervosa (AN) patients and clinical as well as healthy comparison groups. From June 2021 to September 2021, 222 female adolescents (19 with AN, 20 with depression, 45 with a self-reported psychiatric disorder (SRPD), and 138 controls) aged 11.2 to 18.9 years completed a one-time anonymous survey retrospectively reporting back on ED and depressive symptomology before and during the pandemic, the impact of social media, and coping strategies. A reduced quality of life (QoL) due to confinement was observed in almost half of female adolescents. All groups reported a significant perceived increase of disordered eating, overeating, anxiety, and depressive symptoms and emotion-regulation problems. In AN patients, significantly higher percentual deterioration of disordered eating and anxiety and depressive symptoms was found. For controls, a younger age and higher susceptibility of the sociocultural body image significantly correlated with increased disordered eating. Large-scale media literacy interventions are recommended. Full article
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