Promoting Youth Mental Health During Covid-19

A recent study published in PLOS ONE (2021) examined a wide range of factors that may protect youth from developing psychopathology during the pandemic by combining two longitudinal samples of children and adolescents (N = 224, 7–10 and 13–15 years) assessed prior to the pandemic, during the stay-at-home orders, and six months later.

Findings showed higher exposure to pandemic-related stressors was associated with increases in internalizing and externalizing symptoms early in the pandemic and six months later.

In addition, having a structured routine, less passive screen time, lower exposure to news media about the pandemic, and to a lesser extent more time in nature and getting adequate sleep were associated with reduced psychopathology. T

The author’s suggest that parents encourage youth to develop a structured daily routine, limit passive screen time use, limit exposure to news media—particularly for young children, and to a lesser extent spend more time in nature, and encourage youth to get the recommended amount of sleep.

We also suggest that youth-services professionals and organizations provide youth and parental programs and resources aimed at increasing these and other behaviors that can promote the mental and physical health of young people,  especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read the entire research paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255294

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