The Children’s Hospital Zurich has registered twice as many suicide attempts among children and adolescents as before the pandemic. Experts also warned of an increase in anxiety disorders, depression, sleeping and eating disorders and substance abuse.
The consequences of the “measures to contain the Corona pandemic” with regard to the mental and physical health of children and adolescents can be clearly felt not only at the Children’s Hospital of the University of Zurich.
In 2020, the hospital treated 49 children after attempted suicide. In 2019 it was still 21. This is what the chief psychologist at the Zurich Children’s Hospital, Markus Landolt, said in an interview with the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag. From January to March of the current year alone, as many cases were treated as in the whole of 2019.
According to the doctor, the connection with the lockdown (s) and other “measures” has not been scientifically confirmed, but “highly probable”. Eating disorders in particular are more prevalent. In the second half of last year, twice as many children and adolescents were admitted for eating disorders than in the same period of the previous year, reported the Argauer Zeitung.
Some of the children even had to be treated as inpatients, even if outpatient treatment was indicated. Landolt noted that this was happening in one of the richest cities in the world: “The supply situation is catastrophic.”
Most of the children at risk of suicide are girls over twelve, according to Landolt. Those affected come from all social classes, according to the doctor: “Girls internalize problems much more than boys, who tend to react against the outside world.”
In February, psychologists, child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists wrote an open letter, as the FAZ reported. in which they pointed out that their clients were increasingly experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders and the abuse of alcohol, medication or drugs. In addition, there were “tensions in the domestic environment, domestic violence, decline in performance and fear of failure, greatly increased media consumption and weight gain”.
Many pediatricians have demanded that schools remain open during lockdown, while some epidemiologists argue that schools are viral super-spreader environments.