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Black wife comforting husband in hospital

Source: Ariel Skelley / Getty

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says the COVID-19 pandemic caused more than 140,00 children to lose a primary or secondary caregiver from April 2020 through June 2021. A researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, describes children possibly facing orphanhood as a hidden, global pandemic. NIH’s report also states that more than 6 of 10 (65%) of children of racial and ethnic minorities lost a primary caregiver.  A group of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Nemours Children Health and the COVID Collaborative published a report in December 2020 tilted “Hidden Pain”, which focuses on how COVID has impacted the mental health of our children.  The report recommends creating a COVID-19 bereaved children’s fund, creating screening for complicated grief, strengthening social services, and increasing affordability of mental health services. According to the Pew Research Center, psychologists have seen an increase in anxiety, depression, trauma- and stress-related disorders in some children as a result of their loss.  PEW also says organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association submitted recommendations to policymakers last fall. The recommendations included increasing funding for mental health screening, access to technology and school-based mental health care and community-based programs.