The level of bullying, victimization and school violence in SA is among the highest in the world and places a severe burden on children’s mental health.
In In general, children in South Africa are much more stressed than children in most countries and they often live in fear.
This is according to the latest Child Gauge , which finds that children in South Africa have the lowest scores for feeling unsafe compared to other countries.
More than 10% felt unsafe at home, more than 13 % at home school and more than 30% in their neighborhood and community.
These are some of the findings presented in Child Gauge – edited by Mark Tomlinson, Sharon Kleintjes and Lori Lake of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town.
It launched on Wednesday and focuses specifically on the ps ychic health, which is an ongoing problem for SA youth but has deteriorated b y the Covid-19 pandemic.
Children face fear in many aspects of their lives, and this has an impact on mental health.
According to Linda Richter, Professor Emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand, “In a country beset by poverty, our most important responsibility is inequality , social exclusion and violence among our children and young people. We must identify early on those who are facing difficulties and try to fix or improve those problems so that children can continue their lifelong journey with strength and resources.”
How the country is acting The situation has worsened with the consequences of the pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the pressure on children and young people and thus on the mental health of a entire generation and jeopardizes well-being,” writes attorney Bongani Majola, chairman of the SA Human Rights Commission , recovery and family finances have been disrupted.”
Another major problem is sexual victimization.
“This rarely occurs in isolation and is often combined with other forms of violence such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, abuse Negligence and domestic violence have been linked, with 25% to 45% of children in SA witnessing domestic violence committed by their mother’s intimate partner,” the study said.
Other notable statistics – some worrying and others encouraging – include:
- 36% of children live in households with no one earning an income through employment or self-employment (vs. 30% just before the pandemic);
- 39% of children (8 million) live below the food poverty line;
- < span>as of March 2022, 12.9 million children were receiving child benefits (a slight decrease). from the previous year); and 252,000 children received foster care benefits (a significant and steady decline in the number over the past decade);
- Under-five mortality rates declined from 39 deaths per 1,000 live births in the down to 28 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015;
- The infant mortality rate has also declined and is estimated at 21 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020 , over a period of remained stable at 12 per 1,000 live births for six years;
- One fifth (19%) of children travel long distances to reach their primary health care facility and 83.5% of children will fully vaccinated in their first year;
- Children’s access to education has made significant strides, with a reported participation rate of 97% in 2020. Access is also increasing into pre-school age , with 93% of children aged 5 to 6 years of age attend some type of educational or care setting;
- this is not a requirement y result in improved educational outcomes or progress in school. A third of young people aged 15 to 24 (35%) are not in employment, education or training.
“Most children and young people in SA experience ongoing violence and multiple adversities. There is no easy fix or quick fix when it comes to preventing violence and addressing the impact of violence on the mental health of children and adolescents,” concludes the Gauge.
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