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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 97

2019 SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic and Mental Health: Challenges to Homeless Children and Youths

1 Doctoral School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pécs, Hungary
2 Faculty of Biology, University of Pécs, Hungary

Date of Submission01-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance01-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication24-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
David Onchonga
University of Pecs, Doctoral School of Health Sciences, Pécs, Vörösmarty Mihaly utca 4, 7621
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_508_20

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How to cite this article:
Onchonga D, Bhaskar L. 2019 SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic and Mental Health: Challenges to Homeless Children and Youths. Int J Prev Med 2022;13:97

How to cite this URL:
Onchonga D, Bhaskar L. 2019 SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic and Mental Health: Challenges to Homeless Children and Youths. Int J Prev Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 30];13:97. Available from: https://www.ijpvmjournal.net/text.asp?2022/13/1/97/348251

Dear Editor,

The 2019 coronavirus pandemic has caused an austere impact on the health and wellbeing, especially of the homeless children and youths. During the pandemic, many have experienced innumerable mental health problems such as panic, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, there are reports of psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar, eating and trauma-related, obsessive-compulsive, paranoia and dissociation as a result of the pandemic.[1]

Approximately 2.5 million children and youths annually experience homelessness.[2] Homeless children and youths are part of the wider cohort of disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals, perhaps due to their exposure to one or more shocks in their lives, which influences their reaction to either a pandemic, terror attacks, or disease outbreaks.

The 2019 coronavirus disease is a threat to their safety and wellbeing, as a majority of them depend on well-wishers for their survival.[3] Unfortunately, several governments and states globally implemented total and partial lockdowns to limit the spread, and as a result, their livelihoods were affected, leaving them with no coping mechanisms.

Signs of psychosomatic trauma among homeless children and youths include the feeling of terror, relapses in health conditions, loss of concentration, and assertiveness. In addition, they experience petulance, group retractions, hallucinations, and dreadful lifestyles.[4] Comparably, psychological trauma may manifest in the form of cognitive, behavioral, physical, and psychological.[5] These conditions may cause severe emotional and physical reactions that can persist, leading to depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Homelessness has been reported as a result of civil unrest, loss of family members, physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse, and neglect by parents and guardians. Further, family challenges, both social and economic, may lead to homelessness. As a result, homeless children and youths significantly suffers from social isolations, loneliness, and insecurity, which often leads to crimes such as drugs and substance abuse, rape, unprotected sexual activities, and suicidal thoughts.

Globally, governments should be reminded that this is a critical mass that should not be ignored when planning for COVID-19 public health interventions. The success of curbing the spread of the current pandemic will be achieved if all stakeholders are involved. Certainly, the homeless children and youths must be included in the contingency plans.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sohrabi C, Alsafi Z, O'Neill N, Khan M, Kerwan A, et al. World Health Organization declares global emergency: A review of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Int J Surg 2020;76:71-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
NCTSN. Homeless Youths. 2020. [Online]. Available from: https://www.nctsn.org/what-child-trauma-populations-risk/homeless-youth. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 2
Hodgson KJ, Shelton KH, Van Den Bree MBM, Los FJ. Psychopathology in young people experiencing homelessness: A systematic review. Am J Public Health 2013;103:e24-37.  Back to cited text no. 3
Institute of Medicine (US) Washington (DC). Health Problems of Homeless People - Homelessness, Health, and Human Needs. 1988. [Online]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218236/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 4
Cascade Behavioral Health Hospital. Signs & Symptoms of Psychological & Emotional Trauma | Cascade Behavioral Health. 2020. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cascadebh.com/behavioral/trauma/signs-symptoms-effects/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 5


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