The challenges and mitigation strategies to mental health caused by COVID-19 pandemic among school going children in Uganda: A case study of world Ahead senior secondary school Matugga
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The World Health Organization (WHO) was established 60 years ago based on a constitution that in its first paragraph stressed that its principles are basic to the “happiness, harmonious relations and security to all people. The stress on mental health aspects was repeated in the definition of health to show that this was not an incidental choice of words. There is growing evidence and awareness regarding the magnitude of mental health issues across the globe, its lifelong effects on children, teenagers and society. Despite the multidimensional nature of this global challenge, which necessarily require comprehensive approaches, many interventions persist in seeking solutions that only tackle the individual level. The aim of this study is to identify the challenges and mitigation strategies to mental health caused by COVID-19 pandemic among school going children in Uganda. An extensive search was be conducted to identify the challenges of mental health as a result of Covid-19 lockdown and their mitigation strategies are identified to support children to live mentally healthy at school. A documentary review of at least 10 articles was conducted and from Pubmed.gov. The analysis from these documentary review shows that most of the adolescents have experienced a certain level of mental health challenges. Some have been in violence, situation, depressed, stressed, drug abuse etc. and these effects are carried on by the children to school. It was discovered that this has affected the children both academically and dealing with their peers which has negatively affected their social capital. The research conducted case study to identify the challenges and mitigation strategies of mental health among school going children in World Ahead Senior Secondary School Matugga. The research administered 226 questionnaires to the respondents in this case study, this provided raw information for data analysis so as to obtain better conclusion and effective recommendations. From the document review it's realized that mental health problems in early childhood and adolescence increase the risk for poor academic performance, indicating the need for awareness and treatment to provide fair opportunities to education. There is a considerable amount of advocacy work going on in most countries. The problem is that it is mostly ad hoc and on the occasions of mental health days or weeks (M. Taghi, 2008). There is no evidence about the impact of such advocacy. Advocacy and anti-stigma activities at the country level need to be planned within a results-based framework with clear outcome measures. Although the rate of COVID-19 infection among young children and adolescents is low, the stress brought by them puts them in a condition which is highly vulnerable to mental health illness. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescent's mental health is inevitable. The findings from this study identified the knowledge gaps and strengths and provide some evidence on effective interventions to prevent and manage mental health among adolescents and children during the midst of the pandemic. The analysis generated through our study will be useful in developing evidence-based policy and practices during the post pandemic and will be transferable into future pandemic context. We hope that these findings will be useful for the global community and promote mental health of children and adolescents around the globe during the pandemic. It is important to seek and to use all of the available resources and therapies to help adolescents mediate the effects caused by COVID-19 pandemic. More research is needed on the improvement of adolescent mental health at the Post COVID-19 and similar disasters. Among many interventions, more emphasis may be suggested on the global implementation of telemedicine to address the psychological needs of adolescents. The following are some possible solutions that can mitigate the mental health problems in regard to mental health strengthening and reduction as well as availing mental health services to the general public where they are easy to be accessed. Development of cheaper, user friendly methodologies and instruments to assess mental health needs, Scaling up of mental health services through fund-raising, and equitable distribution of such services as well as unification of substance abuse and mental health units under one umbrella. Planning of advocacy activities, anti-stigma campaigns and fund-raising within results-based formats as well as Strengthening and support for mental health units in ministries of health with appropriate budgets. Identification of risk factors for mental disorders through well planned research and systematic reviews so that primary prevention strategies can be built on the evidence generated. Unavailability of early detection and management could be considered a risk factor for disease burden as well. Relevant research is to manage the spread is equally required. Development of policies and legislation (top-down approaches) to improve quality of services and the dignity and rights of patients' needs to be complemented with bottom-up approaches such as the chain-free initiative (non-bureaucratic approaches).