Psychosocial Effects of the Covid 19 Pandemic on the School Going Children in Rwanyamahembe Sub County, Mbarara District
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This study sought to establish the psychosocial effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on school going children in Rwanyamahembe sub-county, Mbarara district. It was guided by three objectives which included; examining the psychosocial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the school going children, exploring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social relationships of the school going children, and finding out the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the school going children. A descriptive study design was adopted. A qualitative approach was preferred because it enabled the researcher to capture the opinions and perceptions of the participants. The sample had 18 respondents who included; students, pupils, parents, and government representatives (local leaders). The in-depth interviews were used to collect data which was recorded, organized in themes. Therefore, the data collected was thematically analysed. The study findings revealed that majority of the school going children indeed experienced psychosocial effects. Many became frustrated, anxious, and hopeless. The study further revealed majority of the school going children were sad, lost interest in things that once brought them joy, and trauma signs were also visible. This clearly revealed that the children’s mental health was also been affected. The study recommended that parents ought to be educated on how to help their children at home to prevent or minimize the psychosocial factors that affect their mental wellbeing. This would be helpful as they await the government to reopen school for all the learners. The study further recommended that schools ought to be reopened with strict enforcement of the needed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This will go a long way in minimizing the psychosocial and the mental health effects on the school going children during this COVID-19 pandemic.