E gbo? Maka why? The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health in Nigeria was rising, as one in six young adults aged between 15 and 24 years was currently experiencing depression.
UNICEF said this in its flagship report, “State of the World’s Children 2021; On My Mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health” released on Tuesday in Abuja.
The report is UNICEF’s most comprehensive look at the mental health of children, adolescents, and caregivers in the 21st century.
It estimated that the current impact of COVID-19 on children’s mental health was a ‘tip of the iceberg’ as the trend was likely to continue in the next years.
The report said the negative trend could, however, be reversed if the Federal Government increased funding for mental health.
“What we see now is just a ‘tip of the iceberg’. As COVID-19 heads into its third year, the impact of the pandemic on children and young people’s mental health and well-being will continue to weigh heavily.
“One in six young Nigerians between 15 to 24 years, often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things. Data from UNICEF shows that globally, one in seven children have been directly affected by lockdowns.
“More than 1.6 billion children have suffered some loss of education; the disruption to routines, education, and recreation. Concern for family income and health is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry, and concerned for their future.
“Although almost 46,000 adolescents die from suicides every year, wide gaps persist between mental health needs and mental health funding. Only two per cent of government health budgets is allocated to mental health spending globally,” the report said.
It also said that mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, intellectual disability, and conduct disorder, could harm the health, life outcomes, and earning capacity of young people.
According to the report, globally, more than one in seven adolescents between 10 to 19 years have been diagnosed with a mental health problem.