THE SILENT PANDEMIC The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Children in Conflict-Affected Countries (War Child)

As part of the Humanity Hub’s first seasonal programming theme, focusing on COVID responses, we will share insights by members of the Humanity Hub community and the Hague Peace & Justice ecosystem. This week, we are spotlighting War Child‘s joint report with World Vision revealing the impact of COVID-19 on young minds.

Before COVID-19, an estimated 1 in 5 children living in conflict-affected areas were in urgent need of mental health care. Now, this figure has more than tripled for children fleeing war and violence. These are the findings of a new report by War Child and World Vision. Together, we are calling upon governments and decision makers to hear these silent alarm bells.

War Child and leading NGO World Vision surveyed 500 refugee and displaced children and youth living in six fragile and conflict-affected countries – Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jordan, Lebanon, the occupied Palestinian territory and South Sudan.

Findings reveal that more than half of these children are requesting mental health support while 12 per cent were identified as being at immediate risk of developing a mental health disorder. Many expressed increased feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic and repeated lockdown. Meanwhile, parents reported changes in their relationship with their children, pointing to aggressive behaviour, stress and rising tensions at home.