Beyond the immediate impact of the virus itself, the global COVID-19 pandemic poses significant risks to public mental health that will persist long after the pandemic has subsided. There is an urgent need to identify resources at both public and individual levels to mitigate the widespread mental health sequelae that commonly follow global disasters, particularly to safeguard the mental health of children who are particularly vulnerable to disruptions in routine, acute uncertainty, and illness or death of loved ones. To inform the development and deployment of mental health resources, research is critically needed to understand the acute and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental well-being of children in the Windsor-Essex region.
The present study has three aims/objectives: 1) We will document the acute severity of psychological distress (i.e., anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic stress symptoms) in children in the Windsor-Essex region during the COVID-19 pandemic. 2) We will examine the persistence of, and recovery from, psychological distress longitudinally over 2020 and the 2020-2021 academic school year. 3) We will identify psychosocial predictors of persistent distress.