Covid spurs depression, anxiety among teenagers in Kashmir Valley

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In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, besides resulting in large scale deaths, Covid pandemic has spurred mental health issues among adolescents in the Kashmir valley. The study conducted by four doctors of Government Medical College Srinagar aimed at assessing prevalence of depression and anxiety and its determinants among school-going adolescents in the Valley has found 16 percent children depressed and 20 percent suffering from anxiety.

Dr Ruqia Quansar said that the Patient Health Questionnaire for Adolescents and Generalised Anxiety Disorder were used to screen for depression and anxiety among school-going adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years in January and February 2021. Of the 439 adolescents who had responded, 426 (97.03%) were included in the final analysis, she said, adding the adolescents had a mean age of 15-19 years and comprised 57% males.

The overall prevalence of depression was 16% and was associated with a past history of COVID-19 infection and anxiety was present in 20% of adolescents, said Dr Ruqia. The prevalence of anxiety was 14% for boys and 27.5% for girls and the study showed that on logistic regression, anxiety was associated with female gender, past history of personal COVID infection, diagnosis in family and hospitalisation of a family member. Overweight, less than 150 min/week physical activity, past personal history of COVID, history of admission due to COVID-19 in family and history of being put under home quarantine were significantly associated with depression in univariate analysis, she added.

Depression and anxiety always remained a significant health problem particularly in adolescence, but the unique challenges posed by this pandemic meant that the problem may get grave in coming years, said Dr Ruqia. —KMS

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