The harms of pandemic-related disruptions on young people will be deeper and may last longer if schools don't return to in-person learning in the fall, according to findings from an ongoing COVID-19 mental health study from researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children.
More than half of children aged eight to 12 reported clinically significant depressive symptoms during the second wave of the pandemic. That number jumps to 70 per cent among adolescents surveyed.
The preliminary findings are significant as Ontario prepares its back-to-school plan for the fall, with researchers warning that just opening school doors without offering extracurricular activities and mental health supports will not be enough to reverse the impact.
Researchers said the results are worrying, as the findings reveal children and youth’s mental health did not bounce back in the aftermath of the pandemic’s second wave during February and March.