Covid has done a wonderful job of scaring people. Mental illness is on the rise. I have a mental illness and I have reached a point of falling into the abyss of my depression. These past two years, now into the third, have impacted my illness. I see myself falling back down into that abyss that I have visited too often; that at one time was so deep that I was suicidal. I have experience. What about our young people? Not just how they react, now. In the moment. But when they are older? How will their life experiences during Covid impact their mental well-being?
There is no doubt that our responses to Covid, around the world, will impact the future mental health of our people, particularly the youngest amongst us. I fear for them. The ones who were 2 when the panic began and have been wearing masks for two years (In all of human history we have never masked so many children for so many hours a day for so many years. As such, we have very little data from which to draw lessons). And the children taught not to touch people, not to hug people, not to touch their faces, not to get too close to anyone, you might kill your Grandma, and to just generally be afraid.
And what about these children? How will they feel when they are older? When they realize they scapegoated friends and relatives?
On a Quebec talk show, children asked about what should happen to unvaccinated people said they should be cut off from everything “until they submit.”
The host then asks what we should do “people who don’t want the vaccine.”
The young boy answered, “We should call the police,” to which a number of guests agreed with his answer.
“So like what the government does right now, we should cut everything from them little by little until they submit and get vaccinated.
Our teenagers are more aware and understand they are living through an attack on socialization, human contact. They realize the need for human contact and structure in their lives.
There was a significant spike in mental health diagnoses and consumption of different types of psychiatric medications by Israeli adolescents during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has shown.
In Israel, the data, released by Maccabi Healthcare Services and its KI Institute for research, showed an overall increase of 55 percent in the diagnoses of eating disorders, 38 percent of depression and 33 percent of anxiety.
“You have destroyed the education of our children and their future. As school principals around the country attest, you made children feel guilty, scared, smoke, drink, get addicted, drop out, and quarrel. You have harmed livelihoods, the economy, human rights, mental health, and physical health.”
Last year, in America, with schools, youth sports and other programs closed nationwide in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the rate of drug-related 911 calls for young people aged 20 and under increased by 43%, an analysis of emergency response data by Reuters found.
In Canada, data from several jurisdictions across Canada and PHAC, Public Health Agency of Canada, show a substantial increase in opioid-related harms and deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. The results of the model suggest that, under some scenarios, the number of opioid-related deaths may remain high or may even increase through to June 2022.
We already know that too often people with a mental illness self-medicate – with drugs and alcohol.
We hear about bed shortages in hospitals but we don’t hear about the shortages of psychiatric beds for children.
Texas Children’s Hospital “Our numbers of referrals on the outpatient side continue to increase — general referrals for common mental health conditions in children and adolescents,” she said. “Unfortunately, we’ve also seen increases in the demand for crisis services — children and adolescents having to come to the emergency center for crisis evaluations and crisis intervention.”
“We’re starting to see more kids who were previously well, so they were youngsters who were not having any specific mental health conditions prior to the pandemic, who are now presenting with more depression, anxiety.” According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, every state has a high to severe shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is building a 46-bed in-patient child and adolescent psychiatry unit. And our children are suffering from wearing masks; masks that do not stop Covid. “…developmental and psychological costs of children being forced to wear them indefinitely are becoming increasingly apparent. Far more kids have died of car accidents than of Covid in the last two years, but no one thinks zero is a reachable goal for children’s deaths in cars.
The proportion of children aged six to 16 with probable mental health disorders has increased from one in nine in 2017 to one in six in both 2020 and 2021. This deterioration was seen across age groups, gender and ethnicity. Children from families facing financial or food insecurity or poor parental mental health reported worse mental health.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General in America stated:
“Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression, and thoughts of suicide — and rates have increased over the past decade. The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating. The future wellbeing of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation.”
When we are not hearing about Covid, we are accused of not caring for the future of our planet; climate change. Ok, I get it. But where are the Greta Thunbergs screaming about the damage being done to our “future,” now, our children, because of the Covid response by our legislators and medical experts?
Where is the strum and drang?
So, what will psychiatrists say when these people come in for care later in life? Will they recognize the signs and symptoms of what I am calling Covid generalized anxiety syndrome? Their patients; antisocial, feeling disconnected, sharing fear of hugging, agoraphobia, fear of intimacy, a generalized sense of loneliness, shyness and a generalized sense of fear and anxiety?
We cannot let leaders continue take our children down into the abyss. Mental illness does not as a rule, disappear. Sadly it can be passed down through the generations.
There is only so much the human soul can take and then it splinters, and if not healed, breaks.
This destruction has to end.
We must end it.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”