The HighWire: COVID lockdowns triggered pandemic of mental illness in the US, UK
07/07/2022 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Del Bigtree and Jefferey Jaxen touched on how the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns in the U.S. and the U.K. triggered a pandemic of mental illness, most especially in the youth.

Jaxen, an independent journalist, cited an article by the Guardian discussing how children born during the COVID-19 pandemic had lower IQs. It quoted a paper by American researchers, who found that "children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared with children born before."

"In the decade preceding the pandemic, the mean IQ score on standardized tests for children aged between three months and three years of age hovered around 100. But for children born during the pandemic, that number tumbled to 78," the paper stated. The authors also found that children coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds fared worse in the tests.

Brown University associate professor Sean Deoni, the study's lead author, attributed the failing test scores to lack of stimulation and interaction at home. "Parents are stressed and frazzled, [so] that interaction the child would normally get has decreased substantially," he told the Guardian.

Aside from lower IQs, Jaxen also pointed out that COVID-19 lockdowns also caused developmental and speech delays in toddlers.

One in three language therapists said referrals for speech therapy have doubled since the pandemic, according to the U.K.'s Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. It warned that more and more children could have a hard time in school as basic skills were never learned. Other experts agreed with the college, reiterating that repeated lockdowns had left young children without the chance to play and learn how to communicate.


British Association for Community Child Health Director Dr. Doug Simkiss emphasized the important role of early exposure to other children.

"The pandemic reduced the opportunities for children to play with other children and highlights the importance of nurseries and early years settings for language development," he said.

CDC warns of uptick in pandemic-related mental health issues

Jaxen also mentioned a warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about a potential spike in mental illness among teenagers.

According to a survey published in March 2022 by the public health agency, more than four in 10 teens said they feel "persistently sad or hopeless" and that one in five "have contemplated suicide."

But even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more teenagers were reporting poor mental health. The percentage of teens reporting "persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness" between 2009 and 2019 rose from 26 percent to 37 percent. This figure rose to as much as 44 percent in 2021.  (Related: MENTAL TORTURE: Nearly half of high school students in America felt "persistently sad or hopeless" during COVID-19 pandemic.)

CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director Dr. Debra Houry said the survey's findings "echo a cry for help," adding that "the COVID-19 has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode students' mental well-being."

The survey came months after Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on protecting the mental health of the youth back in December 2021.

"The pandemic era's unfathomable number of deaths, pervasive sense of fear, economic instability and forced physical distancing from loved ones, friends, and communities have exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced," he wrote at the time. "It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place."

Bigtree described the surge in mental illness among youths an "unbelievable" phenomenon.

"It's like the 'Titanic' scene where [the adults] kicked the kids out of the lifeboats [and] threw themselves in. We literally saw something we never expected, where we used the children to try and protect the elderly, instead of vice versa. It's just [a] really horrific, sad [and] embarrassing display of humanity." has more stories about how COVID-19 lockdowns affected mental health.

Watch the full segment of "The HighWire" with Del Bigtree and Jefferey Jaxen below.

This video is from The HighWire with Del Bigtree channel on

More related stories:

Experts warn impact of coronavirus pandemic on children’s mental health is "increasingly alarming."

An invisible danger: Coronavirus pandemic a threat to the mental health of Americans.

Coronavirus pandemic creating "perfect storm" for huge global mental health crisis.

UK doctors warn of new MENTAL HEALTH pandemic following Covid lockdowns.

Mental health crisis, tyrannical mandates characterize pandemic – Brighteon.TV.

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