What we have learnt about trauma, loss and grief for children in response to COVID-19

06 July 2021

The disruption of daily life resulting from COVID-19 and its precautions has taken an enormous emotional toll on children and families. The consequences of disrupted schooling, changed social interactions and altered family dynamics has had some unanticipated positives such as improved on-line educational upskilling and personal resilience. However, the potential longer term implications for educational outcomes, economic impacts of job loss and prolonged financial insecurity, physical wellbeing and mental health remain unclear. The potential for post-traumatic stress disorders from what is experienced by children with imposed isolation from friends and extended family, domestic violence and death of relatives remains concerning. Confronting images and stories relayed through social media and the popular press will challenge children’s views of safety, security, trust and potentially rob them of much of the innocence of youth. In an overwhelming global response to the “adult” problems of the COVID-19 pandemic, this article reflects on the consequences of trauma, loss and grief through the perspective of children and how they may alter their view of the world.