A study found that 45 per cent of surveyed adolescents in Cambodia worried about their safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 16 per cent felt more anxious or depressed since the crisis began, the Unicef said in a press statement.
The study also showed that 58 per cent of secondary school students reported experiencing at least one mental health issue, the UN agency said, adding that Unicef has made mental health one of its key priorities as the world recovers from the pandemic.
“There was already a child mental health crisis but the pandemic has certainly made the situation worse,” Anirban Chatterjee, program deputy representative at Unicef Cambodia, said.
“Schools closed, restrictions prevented positive social interactions, and families faced enormous socio-economic challenges, all of which negatively affected the mental health of children and young people,” he added.
Chatterjee said Unicef is working to put this issue at the forefront of the Covid-19 recovery agenda and that improving mental health is going to require action at all levels of government and society, including young people.
“This campaign is designed to help them overcome stigma and give them much needed tools to prioritize their wellbeing,” he said.
“I Feel Better when…” was launched with a video showing young Cambodians using positive coping mechanisms such as sport, friendship and creative pursuits to improve their mental health, and will be followed by three months of sustained online activity raising awareness and providing tips and guidance to young people, the Unicef said.