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Dr Joanne Paul

Rishard [email protected]

The mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is growing worse in adolescents according to one health expert. Speaking during a virtual press conference yesterday about the effects of the outbreak on children, Medical Chief of Staff at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex Dr Joanne Paul said she made the observation especially among those between the ages of 10 to 15. “What’s been happening since September, especially for those who have started in Form 1, those who have changed schools, those who have even gone from Form 1 to 2 where you haven’t had your base of friends…it’s really been difficult for them and especially the boys,” she said. “They have been untethered and lost…for the past month we’ve seen a really sharp increase in the amount of cases who’ve had referrals. So previously I would have about two referrals to psychologists/psychiatrists per month…in the past month I’ve had like 15 children who have had to refer for depression, for not managing ADHD…and just being lost.”“At that age group their parents and family aren’t the most important, they provide structure and support but they really get their validation, self-esteem and their sense of worth from their crew,” she said. She urged parents to employ different measures to mitigate these effects of pandemic fatigue on their children. She suggests more online social gatherings where the child can connect with friends or classmates safely. She also suggested increasing the time the child spends with others their age who may live in the same household.