Wearing masks can damage children’s mental health?

Some parents believe that compulsory wearing masks in school is harmful to children’s mental health, but according to experts, the evidence is just the opposite. Gilbert said that the most significant negative impact of the epidemic on children’s mental health occurred in the period before the epidemic. At that time, the children who received distance teaching would increase the degree of anxiety and depression because they could not go to school and stay with their children.

Gilliam and Murray of Yale University were concerned about the negative impact on the mental health of children and parents due to the closure or closure of schools and children’s education facilities in the early stage of the epidemic. Therefore, they decided to explore the most effective strategy to prevent the closure of these facilities.

In May 2020, they surveyed 6654 preschool teachers in 50 states to find out what infection control measures their institutions had taken, including maintaining social distance, checking symptoms and wearing masks. A year later, they followed up to see if these facilities had been closed.

The results showed that the proportion of nurseries requiring children aged 2 and over to wear masks to avoid closure was 16% lower than that requiring closure. The paper was published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association on January 27, 2022.

Gilliam and Murray, who acknowledged the limitations of the study, did not notice other factors, such as whether children avoided traveling while wearing masks. Nevertheless, the survey report provides strong evidence to society that compulsory wearing of masks in schools and children’s educational facilities can protect rather than harm children’s mental health.

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