67% of parents are anxious about their children going back to school and 57% believe that school should start again in September
MONTREAL, April 22, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - COVID-19 causes devastating effects on the physical and mental health of Quebecers. 56% of parents report that their children's psychological and emotional state has deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic. This is one of the observations made by CROP in an online survey where 1,408 Quebecers aged 18 and over, have responded from April 17 to 20, on behalf of the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation.
"This is extremely worrisome. The crisis has had a major impact on Quebecers in general and on young people in particular," said the Foundation's founder and president, Jasmin Roy. To prevent the emergence of an additional public health problem, we will have to quickly offer a range of strategies to support the citizens and the young people most affected. The advice currently being provided is not enough. For some, physical activity helps, but for others, it will take different cognitive and behavioural methods."
Sadder, lonelier and irritable children who don't sleep well…
The most significant psychological and emotional impacts on children are related to feelings of loneliness, which 42% of the parents surveyed said had deteriorated. Next in order are the general mood, frustration, worry and insecurity (31%). More than one quarter (26%) feel that their negative outlook on things or events in their daily lives has also deteriorated, as has their sense of sadness (25%).
In addition, 48% of respondents report that their child's behaviour has deteriorated since the beginning of the pandemic. For 35% of respondents, their children are more irritable and aggressive than before. It is also true for their physical condition with 45% of parents reporting that it has deteriorated. Just over 60% say that their children's sleeping routine has been changed and is now done later (61% wake up later and 64% go to bed later).
However, 93% of parents confirm that their children are physically active and that 78% are involved in arts activities. "Clearly more is needed, since 91% agree that governments should adopt a strategy to promote psychological well-being of the population during and after this crisis," says Jasmin Roy.
Back to school
More precisely, the possibility of back to school in the next few weeks causes anxiety for 67% of parents (34% very anxious, 33% somewhat anxious) and 46% of their children (18% very anxious, 29% somewhat anxious).
As for when kids should return to school, a majority of parents (57%) feel that it should not take place before September. Just over one quarter (27%) believe that they should go back to school between May 4 and mid-June, while 16% do not wish to respond and say they trust the government to choose the right time.
"Our Foundation intends to be a leading partner in improving the emotional and relational health of Quebecers, especially for children and teenagers, added Jasmin Roy, who wishes to put the expertise of the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation to good use. Adults and children must regain a sense of well-being in order to meet the challenges they will face. Academic success is intrinsically linked to good mental health."
Shared custody affects 26% of households with children. For 61% of parents in this situation, changing the children from homes has become a source of stress (21% strongly agree, 40% somewhat agree).
For a majority of parents affected by shared custody, the crisis has changed the rules. These changes have a direct impact on the anxiety and insecurity that children experience. They also have a direct impact on the tendency to have a negative view of things.
Impacts on mental health
Adults don't get much better. As many as 83% of adults surveyed feel worried and insecure, 77% also report feelings of sadness, loneliness and frustration. Moreover, 38% have experienced a deterioration in their mood since the beginning of the crisis.
Sleep disturbances (71%), general fatigue (72%) and symptoms of anxiety attacks (49%) were also observed. It is no surprise to find that 74% have a negative view of the situation or of daily events. They also have difficulty concentrating on a task (72%), while 70% are irritable or even aggressive.
Of note, 20% of participants reported having increased their alcohol consumption and 8% of smokers reported increasing their smoking.
"This survey shows us that the pandemic and the confinement measures have caused major consequences on the psychological and emotional well-being of parents and their children," said Sophie Desmarais, the Foundation's godmother.
Finally, 49% of respondents believe that things will change profoundly in society and 42% think that we will soon be able to start living again, but with strict standards of social distancing.
About the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation
Found in 2010, the Jasmin Roy Sophie Desmarais Foundation is both a charitable and a community-based organization whose mission is to create positive and caring environments in keeping with the goals (SDG) set by the United Nations. The Foundation's team has the mandate to raise awareness, educate, support and contribute to finding lasting solutions to the problems of violence, discrimination and bullying in all living environments, whether it be educational settings, workplaces or all environments in which our seniors live. The implementation of healthy emotional and relational lifestyles is at the heart of its approach, which aims to promote inclusion and prevent mental health problems, both in Canada and around the world. Jasmin Roy and Sophie Desmarais, the Foundation's godmother, are now registered with the United Nations as ECOSOC civil society representatives.
SOURCE Fondation Jasmin Roy