The kids may not be all right, according to Montreal study on mental health during COVID-19

Ten months into COVID-19, a persistent health worry is growing, but it’s not exactly about the virus.

One recent study out of the Universite de Montreal found that parents are increasingly worried about their kids’ mental and emotional health, with more than half of the parents surveyed concerned about it.

Life changes during the pandemic have a lot to do with it, said one local mother.

"Because they're not able to get outside with friends and hang out, they're spending more time on video games online together, chatting with friends online,” said Erin Morehouse. “There's less to keep them occupied."

Half of parents said their kids are spending more time on cellphones and tablets.

“I think the results are not surprising,” said Kate Zinszer, a professor at the Universite de Montreal’s School of Public Health.

“Everyone is worried about the mental health aspect of the unintended consequences of confinement, but I do think that it raises questions about how can we better address some of these issues.”

Though some outdoor activities are allowed, such a skiing, Morehouse said that doesn’t work for a lot of people.

“The activities they're mentioning are great for affluent families who can afford to go skiing and can afford to do all those things, but I'm hoping we find community things to do together outside,” she said.

Zinszer said maybe, given the study’s worrying results, we should be looking harder at what extra-curriculars could be safe to put back in place.

The study had two goals: to test children for COVID antibodies and to get a picture of their mental health.

And while relatively few of them have gotten the virus, the psychological side of it has been troubling.

Researchers say they hope their findings, which will be out this month, will help guide future public health decisions around children.

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