PHO Rounds: COVID-19 and Mental Health of Children and Adolescents

Tue, December 08, 2020

Hosted by Public Health Ontario

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Public health (or emergency) measures implemented to mitigate COVID-19 may have unintended consequences on the mental health of children and youth. This large cross-sectional cohort study examined the impact of COVID-19 emergency measures on child/adolescent mental health for children/adolescents with and without pre-existing psychiatric diagnoses. Parents of children ages 2-18 and self-reporting children/adolescents ages 10-18 indicated changes in mental health across six domains: depression, anxiety, irritability, attention, hyperactivity, and obsessions/compulsions. 67-70% of children/adolescents experienced deterioration in at least one mental health domain. 19-31% of children/adolescents experienced improvement in at least one domain. Children/adolescents with and without psychiatric diagnoses experienced deterioration, with increased rates in those with a pre-existing diagnosis. Greater stress from social isolation was associated with deterioration in all mental health domains. Enhancing social interactions for children/adolescents will be an important mitigation strategy for current and future COVID-19 waves.

Intended audience: Public health physicians, public health nurses, epidemiologists, medical residents, scientists, academic researchers, policy and decision-makers.

The objectives of the webinar are to:

  • Identify the impacts of public health measures on child and youth mental health in a global context
  • Compare the rates of deterioration and improvement in child and youth mental health in Ontario during the first wave of the pandemic and before the pandemic
  • Identify the variables associated with deterioration and improvement in child and youth mental health in Ontario during the first wave of the pandemic
  • Discuss ideas for improving child and youth mental health during subsequent waves of the pandemic

About the presenter: Katherine Tombeau Cost

Katherine Tombeau Cost, Ph.D. is a research assoiciate in the Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health in the Research Insititue at the Hospital for Sick Children. During her PhD in New Orleans, she worked with rats, studying cognition in pregnancy and motherhood. Accepting a postdoc position in Toronto, she worked on the Maternal Adversity and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) project, studying maternal cognition and maternal behaviour in humans. Katherine applies innovative statistical methods to understand the differential contributions of biological, psychological, and sociological variables to parent and child mental health.



Please note that you will receive details on how to join the webinar after registering for this event.

PHO Rounds are approved for continuing medical education from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. PHO Grand Rounds are also approved by Council of Professional Experience for professional development hours (PDHs) for members of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI). For more information, contact .

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