Not only an infection with the coronavirus, but also the general conditions of life in times of a global pandemic are having an increasing impact on health with each new day in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. The youth in particular are suffering more and more, as Peter Lehner, co-chair of the Conference of Social Insurance Institutions, explains. As part of the 8th children’s and youth symposium of the umbrella organization for social insurance, he just presented alarming figures: Since the outbreak of the pandemic, children and young people have been 64 percent less likely to visit their general practitioner, but 41 percent more are turning to antidepressants: “These are two key figures that show how the corona pandemic has influenced the health of children and adolescents ”, says Lehner, who emphasizes that the pandemic should not“ be seen as a singular event ”, but that the crisis makes a large number of developments visible and accelerates them.
The pandemic had a deep impact on child and youth health. “Less through the infection itself than through collateral events,” said Reinhold Kerbl, head of the department for children and adolescents of the LKH Hochsteiermark in Leoben and general secretary of the Austrian Society for Pediatrics. “Educational deficits, vaccine picking, late diagnosis and therapy, limited social experiences, lack of exercise and excessively long screen times can have negative effects in the long term.” Kerbl called for “as much normality as possible and making up for what has been neglected”.
Corona also increases the social gap: “Inequalities are increasing, social equality of opportunity is decreasing,” emphasizes Caroline Culen, clinical health psychologist and in the management of the League for Child and Adolescent Health.