German Children Have Psychological Problems Due To Pandemic


BERLIN (AP) – The stress and limitations of the coronavirus pandemic are causing mental problems in German children, particularly those from low-income families, a study released Wednesday revealed.

The Hamburg-Eppendorf University Medical Center study revealed that around one in three German children suffers from anxiety, depression or exhibits pandemic-related psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches and stomach pain.

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Children and adolescents from poorer families, and those with migrant origins, are disproportionately affected, according to the report.

“Children who were well before the pandemic and feel safe and comfortable in the family environment will go through the pandemic without problems,” said Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer, study leader and director of research at the hospital’s pediatric psychiatric clinic.

“However, we need better concepts to support and especially strengthen the mental and emotional health of the children of families in vulnerable conditions,” he said.

Particularly during lockdowns, “schools need to maintain regular contact with students and show appreciation and attention,” he stated. “Otherwise, there is a risk that children from vulnerable families will lose their motivation and desire to study.”

The researchers virtually interviewed more than 1,000 children between the ages of 7 and 17 and more than 1,500 parents between mid-December and mid-January. More than 80% of those surveyed participated in a previous poll conducted in June.

Overall, four out of five children reported feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic.

They said their families argue more often, suffer problems at school and that relationships with their friends are deteriorating. They also eat less healthily, spend more time online, and play less sports, according to the study.

“Parents seem to have adjusted to the challenges of remote teaching and work and are trying to deal with the situation in the best possible way,” added Ravens-Sieberer. “But they too are reaching their limit.”

A series of snowfalls across Germany this week allowed children to go outside to take a short break from lockdowns and other coronavirus-related restrictions.

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