The indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents

A CCCH-led review explores the evidence of the potential indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and proposes five strategy areas to help mitigate these impacts.

The research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, used a community child health lens to review findings from previous pandemics, epidemics and natural disasters.

The review found clear evidence of adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children were either repeated or extended from previous large-scale outbreaks of infectious disease and were exacerbated by a lack of health services to meet demand and family pressures.

Centre Director Professor Sharon Goldfeld said children were facing a “generation-defining disruption” with public health restrictions to mitigate COVID-19 infection such as virtual learning, social distancing, increased screen time, reduced access to healthcare, no structured sport and less outside play, to have both immediate and longer-term impacts.

“The public health measures have resulted in positive benefits for some, while others have been adversely and inequitably impacted,” she said.

The review proposes five strategy areas to begin to address these inequities:

  • addressing financial instability through parent financial supplements
  • expanding the role of schools to address learning gaps and wellbeing
  • rethinking health care delivery to address reduced access
  • focusing on prevention and early intervention for mental health
  • using digital solutions to address inequitable service delivery.

Read the full paper

Read the Research Brief

Listen to Professor Sharon Goldfeld and Anne Hollonds, National Children’s Commissioner, discuss the study on ABC RN Breakfast, 28 January 2022

Watch Professor Sharon Goldfeld discuss the findings on ABC News, 24 January 2022.

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