SAGE scientist on sending children to school amid omicron wave
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The warning comes as Covid continues to surge across the UK and global discussions remain ongoing over whether to strengthen restrictions. Psychiatrist Celso Arango, who works at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, said the implication on the mental wellbeing of children should be assessed before any new restrictions are given the green-light.
The warning comes as Covid continues to surge across the UK and global discussions remain ongoing over whether to strengthen restrictions.
Psychiatrist Celso Arango, who works at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, said the implication on the mental wellbeing of children should be assessed before any new restrictions are given the green-light.
Dr Arango told ABC: “A new lockdown would be devastating for the mental health of children and adolescents.
“It was not known before that the detrimental effect would be so great in this population group, but now we know it.
“This should be assessed before such a decision is taken. In adults, it is less clear based on the results we have today.”
The head of Psychiatry at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid was one of the first to warn of the scars that the pandemic would leave on mental health.
Explaining the profile of the patients, Mr Arango said: “They are very young people, between 10 and 20 years old, with serious mental pathologies, either because they were already ill before the pandemic and have decompensated, or because new cases are arising.
“Many arrive with affective disorders, minors with suicide attempts and also with eating behaviour problems.”
Dr Arango continued to suggest that investing in the mental health of children is one of the most cost-effective ways to adapt to the current situation.
He said: “Investing in prevention, in children from 5 to 9 years old, whom we have to teach the value of empathy, respect for diversity, frustration tolerance and loss management.
“All this would help us to forge stronger adults who are able to withstand the onslaught of a society full of landmines, risks and bad news.”
Talking about the impact of the pandemic on mental health and whether it is over yet, he said: “We don’t know. We now have a massive demand for care that is overwhelming emergency services.
“It’s not just a particular problem in Spain, it’s happening in the rest of Europe.
“The cases that are now arriving at psychiatry clinics are the result of the lockdown that took place a year ago.”
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Meanwhile, new data shared by South African public health officials stated that the Omicron wave is sending more kids to the hospital than during the Delta wave.
It shows that kids less than five years old have the second-highest Covid-19 hospital admission rate at this point in the Omicron wave.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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