Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

The number has tripled due to the COVID-19 pandemic


70 percent of displaced and refugee children say they need psychosocial support, a figure that has tripled from the 22 percent estimated before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a published report by the NGOs World Vision and War Child Holland. this Thursday.

The work, ‘The silent pandemic’, assesses the consequences of COVID-19 on the mental health of children living in conflict zones or who have been forced to flee. In this sense, it reveals that 43 percent of children living in “fragile” countries affected by conflict have stated that they need psychosocial and mental health support as a “direct result” of the pandemic.

The study, carried out with almost 500 children and young people in six “fragile” and conflict-affected countries, also reveals that COVID-19 exacerbates the “pre-existing psychological distress” of children by adding “more anxieties to their stressed lives” . These include the spread of COVID-19, the loss of family members and the need to cope with the closure of schools and educational facilities.

Thus, the children surveyed largely relate increased stress to not attending school, having less access to services, activities, health centers, play areas, food and water. They also especially miss sports, games, family – especially parents – activities to promote peace and the opening of schools.

The study also shows that while 86 percent of younger children – ages 7 to 14 – and 81 percent of adolescents – ages 15 to 17 – can and do seek emotional support From a friend or family member, older youth – ages 19-24 – struggle to cope with their distress, and only 41.8 percent have someone to turn to for support.

World Vision’s global outreach and advocacy leader, Dana Buzducea, has acknowledged that while COVID-19 has exacerbated mental health issues, for children “already living with fear, trauma, and chronic stress of the conflicts that disrupt and threaten their lives, their impact has been extremely damaging. “

In this vein, the humanitarian director of War Child Holland, Unni Krishnan, has also expressed herself, who has agreed that “the mental health and well-being of children is seriously deteriorating during this pandemic.”

“It is time to act,” he concluded, arguing that, if not supported, “a whole generation of vulnerable children could face potentially catastrophic and long-lasting impacts on their mental health and psychosocial well-being.” “Given that, before the pandemic, access to mental health services and psychosocial support was already limited, imagine the urgency at this time,” he added.


Currently, funding for mental health and psychosocial support accounts for only 1 percent of all humanitarian health funding. For this reason, World Vision and War Child have appealed to the international community to contribute 1,400 million dollars (more than 1,160 million euros), necessary to provide urgent mental health support to the approximately 456 million affected children. .

“Children who have experienced conflict, violence and severely traumatic events urgently need unhindered access to mental health and psychosocial support services,” explained Buzducea, lamenting that, however, only 2 to 4 percent of the national health budgets in the countries where these children live is spent on mental health.

“In addition, these funds are limited or non-existent for children living in fragile and conflict-affected areas. There is a great lack of financing that must be addressed,” he pointed out, before emphasizing that, if it is not acted, it is possible that the world is facing a “global child mental health crisis.” “We have a moral responsibility to act now, before it is too late,” he added.


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