COVID-19 and Mental Health (CMH) Initiative: Research

Mental Health and Substance Use among Children and Adolescents Amidst COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Key Messages

  • Information is key; children and adolescents need to be educated and informed about the pandemic situations.
  • Effective and rapid communication is essential.
  • Most of the adverse effects come from the school closure, isolation, limited physical activities, social distancing, and imposition of a restriction of liberty.
  • Parents, teachers, health care providers, and public health officials can play an important role in minimizing the impact of pandemic on mental and psychological health.
  • Children and adolescents’ access to mental health services should be improved and should be social-distancing and lockdown friendly.
  • Mental health professionals should use existing evidence-based guidelines and also establish easy operational strategies such as mobile based applications to cope with COVID-19 pandemic-related mental health problems in children and adolescents.


  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Pandemic
  • COVID-19
  • Mental health
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Psychological health


  • Nominated Principal Applicant: Dr. Salima Meherali, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing
  • Dr. Zohra Lassi, University of Adelaide
  • Jai Das, Aga Khan University Hospital
  • Rehana Abdus Salam, Aga Khan University Hospital
  • Neelam Punjani, University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing

For more information, please contact: Salima Meherali,

Related Syntheses


(External links)

Full PDF

Lay Summary PDF


People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) and Substance Use, Children, Youth and Families


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