COVID affected mental wellbeing of 73 per cent students in Odisha, finds study

Even though school closure was essential to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among children, it affected their social behaviour.

Published: 16th November 2021 11:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2021 11:22 AM   |  A+A-

Student suicide, stress, pressure, depression

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Children in Odisha may have remained less infected by novel coronavirus, but bearing a disproportionate burden of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their physical health as well as mental wellbeing, found a recent study.

The prolonged closure of school and movement restriction caused fear, anxiety, stress and social bearings among children, revealed an online study carried out by Odisha-based Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha. 

The report of the study conducted with 2,219 school going children of Class I to VIII from 84 blocks of 16 rural districts of Odisha, found that nearly 50 per cent children failed to get support of their family members that they needed to deal with emotional, social and learning gaps during the pandemic. 

Even though school closure was essential to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among children, it affected their social behaviour. A total 73.2 per cent of children reported that they experienced mental and physical stress during the pandemic, the report revealed. 

It also stated that 47.3 per cent children surveyed said that they were engaged in household work to support their families during the pandemic.  Lack of access to online education also played a major role in children's increased mental stress. Around 94.3 per cent of the children interviewed for the study reported that they did not have access to a smartphone making their learning difficult and stressful. 

Online education was properly attended merely by 10.2 per cent of children and most importantly, online education was confusing for nearly 32.2 per cent children. Even 17 per cent of the children who attended online classes anyway, showed their discontent, saying that it was challenging for them on many fronts. 

While 12.8 per cent children reported that they could not interact or ask questions with teachers in fear of being bullied, 14.7 per cent of them felt embarrassed to ask a question as the concept of online classes was something that none of them was prepared for. 

Of the 2,219 children, 91.5 per cent were from government-run schools while the others belonged to private schools.  Atmashakti Trust members said their study which is continuing will cover 50,000 students to understand mental wellbeing of children and the report will be shared soon. 


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