Growing number of Czech children having post-pandemic mental health problems

The number of children and adolescents suffering from depression and those self-harming has increased steeply in the last few years, which many experts ascribe to the period of social isolation during the Covid pandemic. Alarmingly, the society is ill prepared for this trend and the number of child psychiatrists is woefully inadequate.

Hana was thirteen when she first cut her forearms with a knife. The self-harm continued for several years when she would pierce her skin, burn her hands with cigarette butts or bash them against a tree trunk until they bled. Looking back, she says it was a form of relief that she became addicted to.

“It’s not just the physical pain, but also looking at the blood. It helps you to relax and calm down because when things become unbearable the physical pain surmounts the mental pain. When you get used to it you have to cut more and deeper.”

Child experts are ringing alarm bells. Statistics show that the number of children and adolescents inflicting self-harm increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic and has been steadily rising in the last 18 months in what is a worrying nationwide trend.

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Authors: Daniela Lazarová, Iva Vokurková