Children’s Mental Health At A Glance:

  • Emergency room visits for mental health increased dramatically among children during 2020-2021.
  • IQ’s dropped significantly in infants born during the pandemic.
  • European data indicates staggering reports of psychiatric disorders as adverse events in conjunction with COVID vaccines.

We’ve heard over the course of the past 22 months that children are resilient. Unfortunately, studies are coming out proving there are just some things that may be too much for young ones to overcome. The impact of lockdowns, masks, social distancing, online education, stressed parents, and caregivers have had an impact on the youth of the world. Factor in the continued impacts of bullying, family dynamics, technology, and what can be challenging, development years, and we have a concerning situation.

The situation has become so concerning, the US Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, has released a 53-page advisory statement. How dire is the situation? According to the CDC, data released a year ago states:

Beginning in April 2020, the proportion of children’s mental health–related ED visits among all pediatric ED visits increased and remained elevated through October. Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health–related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24%. and 31%, respectively.1

In February and March of this year {2021}, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher among girls aged 12–17 than during the same period in 2019.2

In the 2021 Children’s Mental Health Report conducted by the Child Mind Institute revealed that since the beginning of the pandemic, 40% of teens have struggled with general anxiety, 39% with feeling depressed, and 31% with social anxiety. Overall, 37% of teens said the pandemic had made their mental health worse.3

In comparison,

“55% of children felt more ‘sad, depressed, or unhappy,’ versus 25% of adults.”3

The increase in Screens and Decrease in Human Contact

The shutdowns and social distancing also created less experiences for human connection as people became more reliant on social media. According to the New York Post:

Excessive television watching, for instance, can block out other formative social experiences: “You’re probably spending less face-to-face time with people,” she said.

Meanwhile, burgeoning Instagram and TikTok junkies are vulnerable to feelings of jealousy, anxiety and the fear that they’re being left out. “Teenagers aren’t ready for everything they’re going to encounter on social media,” Coyne said.

Parents are particularly concerned right now about their children’s mental health amidst the COVID pandemic, when so many students are spending time in front of screens due to remote learning. In the last three weeks alone, three New York City public school students have committed suicide, a tragedy that mayor Bill de Blasio said could be due in part to the isolation kids are feeling by not being at school in person.4

The Impact on Infants IQ

A study done in Rhode Island regarding child development found the concerning effects of the pandemic policies not only affected school age children.

In the decade preceding the pandemic, the mean IQ score on standardized tests for children aged between three months and three years of age hovered around 100, but for children born during the pandemic that number tumbled to 78, according to the analysis, which is yet to be peer-reviewed.

“It’s not subtle by any stretch,” said Deoni. “You don’t typically see things like that, outside of major cognitive disorders.”

The study included 672 children from the state of Rhode Island. Of these, 188 were born after July 2020 and 308 were born prior to January 2019, while 176 were born between January 2019 and March 2020. The children included in the study were born full-term, had no developmental disabilities and were mostly white.5

Is There a New Contributing Factor to Mental Health with Evolving COVID Policies

As many family, friend, and social groups struggle through the vaccine debate, children are often caught in the middle. However, it’s not just the social side that’s causing the challenge. While data is only beginning to come in for children, the below data should be taken into consideration.

The reports of psychological reactions to vaccines in Europe has been staggering. The below tables are taken from EudraVigilance, the European reporting system for all suspected adverse events. Tozinameran is the name the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is distribute under in this market.

Psychiatric reactions to Janssen vaccine reported in Europe.

Psychiatric reactions to Moderna vaccine reported in Europe.

Psychiatric reactions to Pfizer vaccine reported in Europe.

Hold the Phone — Doc’s Thoughts:

These past 22 months have certainly had a unique impact on human history. Unfortunately, some of those who’ve been harmed the most are the children. Maybe not physically, but emotionally, mentally, socially, relationally, and several other factors we’ve yet to consider or see the impacts of.

On Children’s Mental Health

From children feeling so hopeless and overwhelmed they’re considering taking their own lives, to those who’ve suffered any of the numerous side effects like myocarditis, nervous system disorders, MIS-C,  and now psychiatric disorders may be on the horizon. These children have already suffered enough from the previous policies of masking, mandates, an interrupted education, and now a vaccine with EUA approval that is being pushed on them. A vaccine that one of the FDA members said: We have to use it to know the risks. A vaccine with studies that didn’t focus on adverse reactions.

All of this is in addition to the increased reliance on technology, and the resulting cyber-bullying that have pushed so many teens to decreased mental health, isolation and feelings of loneliness, and the fear of missing out.

What about the bullying going on within families and social groups regarding masks and vaccination status? How do children fair when they are caught in the middle? Maybe consider some strategies to having the hard conversations when children are concerned. Maybe consider how you might add some more laughter and fun to your days and children’s lives, how to support their mental health as well as their cognitive health. What about allowing kids to be kids and just taking time to relate to them? There are so many ways parents can support their children’s mental health. You may have to be more aware and active, but you absolutely can do this. We have to be more intentional and help our children grow instead of just raising them to adulthood.

On Babies’ IQ and development

We’ve known for centuries that a mother’s health impacts her babies, the home environment forms children. How long will this spiral in infant IQ impact humanity? We don’t know. What about the effects of those vaccines on psychiatric disorders? How many generations do those have the potential to impact? We don’t know. We won’t know for generations and years to come. By then it may be too late.

On the Impact of Vaccines on Mental Health

Recently, I interviewed Dr. Paul Thomas. He had some eye-opening data on vaccine injuries in children, aside from the COVID vaccines. The impact on the immune system is staggering. How do we think these vaccines will impact the developing brains and bodies of children? We certainly don’t have any long-term, and rather lacking short-term studies. Especially with such a draft of possible adverse reactions:

A list of possible adverse events anticipated from the COVID vaccines shown during the FDA meeting

In regard to the mental health concerns that were reported as adverse events affiliated with the COVID vaccines, we need to look closer at those numbers. Did you notice that while the lines may look similar in length, the numbers at the bottom of the graph are adjusted and scaled to account for the dramatic increase in numbers affiliated with the Pfizer vaccine? The vaccine that is available to children. That’s not a small adjustment, and it’s not a small risk. That’s a rather concerning, red flag that parents need to be aware of. We’re talking an over 300% increase in incidence. I’ll ask again, how did Pfizer get the approval?

Instead of being so worried about saving polar bears, let’s save the children.