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Thursday, December 3, 2020
Nov 6 2020 (IPS) - COVID-19 has developed into an unprecedented public health crisis, the impact of which has been seen across global health systems and services. As the crisis continues to evolve in India, there is a need to examine the impact of the pandemic and ensuing nation-wide shutdown on young people’s lives, particularly, their experience of mental ill health.
The Dasra Adolescents Collaborative conducted a survey of 111 youth-serving organisations, working with more than 3,200,000 young people, to better understand their perspectives on the experiences of the people they serve.
This article draws on the findings from the survey, with a focus on programme implications relating to health and access to care during the lockdown.
Mental ill health
The United Nations has reported a rapid global rise in mental ill-health since the pandemic began. Additionally, research has indicated that prolonged quarantine periods can have a lasting negative impact on psychological well-being and, for adolescents and young people, an increased risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as anxious and depressive symptoms. Our study concurs with these trends:
To respond to young people’s need for mental health counselling, surveyed organisations undertook a variety of actions:
Access to health services
Large proportions of responding organisations indicated that young people experienced challenges accessing healthcare during the lockdown:
Organisations undertook various actions to combat the above-mentioned challenges.
1. Of the 81 organisations that received reports of limited access to sanitary napkins or IFA tablets:
2. Of those receiving reports of limited access to contraceptives or pregnancy-related services:
What needs to be done going forward
As civil society organisations continue to grapple with this crisis, some key recommendations include:
Insights gathered from this study indicate that young people’s health has been severely affected by the pandemic and is in need of urgent attention from all stakeholders. There is a critical need to act upon these recommendations, ensuring that we work towards protecting and addressing the needs of the young, to ensure that adolescents and youth across the country meet and live up to their full potential.
Sucharita Iyer works at Dasra’s Knowledge Creation and Dissemination team.
Shireen Jejeebhoy is Director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing.
Nitya Daryanani is part of Dasra’s Adolescents Collaborative team, where she drives efforts on thought leadership by bringing together a range of perspectives around adolescents in India.
This story was originally published by India Development Review (IDR)
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