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From The Canadian Press–Preliminary research suggests the COVID-19 crisis is having a sustained and significant impact on youth mental health in Ontario.

Researchers at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children released initial findings Thursday indicating that the majority of children and teenagers saw their mental health decline during the pandemic’s second wave.

The early data, which has not been peer reviewed, shows that more than half of 758 kids aged eight to 12 reported significant symptoms of depression from February to March.

This psychological toll was even more pronounced among teenagers, with 70 per cent of 520 adolescents aged 13 to 18 reporting significant depressive symptoms.

The findings draw from the responses of roughly 1,500 parents and children in Ontario as part of a series of periodic surveys tracking youth mental health during the pandemic.

Dr. Daphne Korczak, principal investigator of the ongoing SickKids-led study, says the research shows that Ontario’s stringent lockdown measures, including extended school closures in some regions, have posed serious harms to young people that could have lasting consequences.

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