Hamilton researchers get $3.1 million to study impact of COVID-19 on young Canadians

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Published October 13, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Hamilton researchers get $3.1 million to study impact of COVID-19 on young Canadians

McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton received a $3.1 million grant from the federal government to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young Canadians.

The study is expected to include 27,000 young people from across the country and is intended to help young people recover from the pandemic.

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“Canadian children and their families are facing major economic and social stressors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Kathy Georgiades, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster. “These will be most severe for families already struggling with financial hardship, and children already dealing with physical and mental health conditions. Results from this study will help public officials make better decisions about health and intervention.”

Dr. Georgiades, also a member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster, will lead the team of researchers studying the impact of COVID-19 pandemic measures on those between the ages of five and 21 in Canada.

Dr. Georgiades will collaborate with principal investigators at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, and the Children’s Health Policy Centre at Simon Fraser University.

The researchers will partner with Statistics Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and Children’s Healthcare Canada to collect data on children’s physical, mental, and social well-being, as well as their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Hamilton researchers get $3.1 million to study impact of COVID-19 on young Canadians

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is having a negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of many children and youth which is why investing in research like this is so important,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health. “Information from this study will be used to develop strategies that will help them recover and minimize any long-term effects to improve their well-being.”

“We also know that ensuring children and young people are up to date with their vaccination can help protect them against severe outcomes and post-COVID conditions.”

The government says the research evidence uncovered by this study will contribute to strategies to support children and youth affected by the mental and physical health challenges stemming from the pandemic.

Statistics Canada previously monitored this same group, then aged up to 17 years, for the 2019 Canadian Health Survey on Children and Youth. The results collected in 2019 will give the research team solid pre-pandemic baseline data, allowing them to assess the effects of the pandemic on the group’s well-being.

The study will get underway in January and wrap up in June 2023.

Between March 2020 and June 1, 2022, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research invested approximately $414 million in 965 COVID-19 research projects, which span everything from diagnostics and potential treatments to public health responses and communication strategies.

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