BY KANICE HO
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed affected only the physical, but the emotional health of the world.
A World Happiness Survey was conducted in September and found that in Hong Kong, the happiness score for people between the ages of 12 and 18 was 5.87 out of 10. The score for this group was among the lowest compared to various age groups. They attributed this score to the forced school closures that led to isolation, feelings of insecurity and instability. And although school has now resumed, the pressure to catch up with school work are mounting.
The report also found that more than 40 percent of the responders suffered mild to severe symptoms of depression. While the world grapples with the devastating effects of COVID-19, the emotional health takes an equal toll.
When we launched our child safeguarding program in Hong Kong years ago, we found that most people were more concerned about physical and sexual abuse. In recent years, there has been more awareness about the importance of emotional and mental well-being and we have highlighted this in our child safeguarding workshops.
The consequences of emotional maltreatment are invisible and often times, much more long-lasting. This deeply affects a child’s self-esteem and their abilities to build healthy social relationships, and develop good learning habits.
In this difficult period of time, I challenge all of us to do more to support the vulnerable children. This can simply be telling them they are loved and cared for, being there with them physically, and being sensitive to their emotions. We do not have to be a professional to support children’s development. Simply by acknowledging their emotional needs and being their companion goes a long way.
Are you willing to join Viva to safeguard children?