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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Study: School closures 'largely explain' the youth mental health crisis

Photo: Alexander Grey/Pexels

"School closures largely explain the deterioration of youth mental health" during the first wave of the pandemic, concludes a study in Germany. Boys, younger teenagers and children in families with limited living space suffered the worst effects.

Different German states had different reopening policies, allowing researchers to look at how young people were affected. "Adolescents exposed to longer school closures struggled with these problems more and for a prolonged time," they write.

In spring of 2020, German schools were closed from 5 to 10 weeks, followed by 25 or more additional weeks in 2020-21, researchers note. Some U.S. schools were closed for 71 weeks.

American teenagers are doing badly. "The number of young people in the United States visiting hospital emergency departments for mental health crises increased sharply during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a Harvard study. There was a "startling spike" in visits by girls.

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