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UNICEF: One in six Nigerian youths developed mental health conditions over COVID restrictions

Maryam Abdullahi

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says one out of six Nigerian youths experienced mental health conditions as a result of restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by UNICEF on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the findings were the result of a survey carried out in 21 countries — including Nigeria.

“Indeed, the pandemic has taken its toll. According to early findings from an international survey conducted by UNICEF and Gallup of children and adults in 21 countries, including Nigeria – which is previewed in The State of the World’s Children 2021 – a median of 1 in 5 young people aged 15–24 surveyed said they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things,” the statement reads in part.


“In Nigeria, 1 in 6 young people aged 15-24 surveyed said they often feel depressed, have little interest in doing things, or are worried, nervous or anxious.

“As COVID-19 heads into its third year, the impact on children and young people’s mental health and well-being continues to weigh heavily. According to the latest available data from UNICEF, globally, at least 1 in 7 children has been directly affected by lockdowns, while more than 1.6 billion children have suffered some loss of education.

“The disruption to routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving many young people feeling afraid, angry, and concerned for their future.”


Speaking on the development, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, expressed concern over the challenges affecting children and youths as it relates to the pandemic.

“It has been a long 18 months for us all – especially children. With the nationwide lockdowns and pandemic-related movement restrictions in Nigeria, children have spent indelible years of their lives away from family, friends, classrooms, play – key elements of childhood itself. They have also suffered an increase in violence and abuse, especially girl children,” he said.

“Even before the pandemic, far too many children were burdened under the weight of unaddressed mental health issues. This has been compounded by the pandemic. The impact is significant, and it is sadly just the tip of the iceberg.

“Mental health is an integral part of health, and just as important as physical health – we cannot afford to continue to view it as otherwise.


“We must commit to understanding and investing more in this critical area so that we maximise every child’s potential and their ability to fulfil their dreams of a full and happy life.”

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