Anxiety: the hidden cause behind school absences
Lockdown has had a detrimental impact on students' mental wellbeing
The Children’s Commissioner for England this week announced an inquiry into the 100,000 ‘lost children of lockdown’ who are still not attending school. According to Dame Rachel de Souza, around 95% of children are normally in school at this time of year, but now the figure is currently around 87%. While some absences will inevitably be down to illness and Covid, too many children have simply failed to return since classrooms were closed.
We cannot underestimate how important this inquiry is from a safeguarding perspective. We have seen from tragedies such as the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes how vital it is that children are in school so that teachers and other adults can flag signs of neglect and abuse. The chaos of lockdowns has made it all too easy for vulnerable children to slip through the net, and many of these ‘missing’ children will still be trapped in dangerous home environments, gangs and other criminal activity.
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However, there is another important reason for the sheer number of absences: anxiety. ‘Anxiety’ was recently voted Children’s Word of the Year, and this is hardly surprising — restrictions may be relaxing, but we can’t expect students to immediately recover from the cognitive whiplash of the last two years.
Yesterday it was confirmed that masks would no longer be required in lessons, and I expected my classes to rip their face coverings off in joy as fast as they could. Quite the opposite. In fact, the majority of my pupils kept their masks on — even when I explicitly reminded them that they no longer had to. Yet who can really blame them? For almost two years they have been told that they are vectors of disease, risks to their loved ones, ticking time bombs of transmission — and we can’t expect them to instantly unlearn that.
Older students may be more adaptable, and may be able to cope with the constant cognitive dissonance of public health messaging. Yet younger students struggle with change and uncertainty at the best of times. The youngest students I teach are 11, meaning that they were just 9 when the pandemic started, and so Covid has been a looming presence over almost a fifth of their lives. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for primary school children, who have spent an even greater proportion of their formative years worried about bubbles and quarantine and why they can’t hug their grandparents.
A lot of students’ anxiety comes from ‘anchoring’ — a psychological bias in which people rely too heavily on the first information they are given when it comes to future decision-making. A good example of this is our persistent insistence on hand-washing and regular cleaning, even though we know that Covid is airborne and doesn’t spread on surfaces. One of my pupils last week became incredibly anxious when I asked him to swap exercise pupils with his partner, for fear of Covid contamination. He might be misguided, but again who can blame him? Just last night at the theatre we were made to sanitise our hands before we came in, and I noticed that the bathrooms were covered with ‘Caution: High Contact Zone’ posters above all the door handles.
If we want to get these ‘missing’ children back into school, then we need to persuade students (and parents) that it is safe for them to do so. With so many pupils and teachers still isolating with Covid, this will be easier said than done; anxiety thrives on uncertainty, and what we need now is reassurance.
Such a sad and disturbing consequence of the scaremonging. Its does seem that the Teacher Unions and many Teacher had fuelled this for their own motives at the expense of the young peoples learning or wellbeing. A scandal and a tragedy.
With society ever more sedentary and home based, I fear it may take a while for them to recover their self confidence…
Teaching unions HATE the children and their Nations, and the West – FACT. They are the world’s most destructive organization, pure hate and destroying the lives of young on some twisted hard Left mission.
I will never forgive the pain that has been inflicted on millions of innocent children.
Blame the education industry – they pushed for the destruction of the young – if they had resisted they could have gone the opposite way – they are 100% captured by the enemies of the West.
The UK is one of the most childist countries in the world. Way before covid the levels of depression amongst our children & young people was the highest in Europe. The extension of covid paranoia into schools and the lives of children is an example of the contempt with which our society views childhood. The state gives them practically nothing and over the last ten years has even removed that. As children become more anxious and depressed, there are less resources to help and I hear stories of children as young as 13 being prescribed antidepressants, probably for want of any other solutions. We should be marching in the streets about the pressures: academic, financial & social on young people today, but we’re not. What will the long term consequences be for societal function when these 11 year olds are 40+?
A wave of anger is mounting – the completely FALSE ‘science’ and destruction of freedom by the elites is all becoming clear, every one on the internet is talking of this – Bret spent half an hour discussing how the elites and their useful idiots will fight to hold up the false narrative https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqwMptiBfo
Or the political comedian JP Sears is typical, “The Narrative is Crumbling”
here is a must watch video
The guy, Dr Campbell, does the world’s most popular, daily, covid info video – because he is comfortingly calm, and gentle – but he totally is a Vaxer, a masker, and a tow the official line guy.
Occasionally he runs a bit amok and has the famous interview with Kayle, the vax medical disasters, of India and the Meta-study on Ivermectin – but 99% he just goes with the mainstream (excepting he is adamantly pro vit D and aspiration of the vax injection)
BUT in this video, yesterday, he gets the real numbers from a ‘Freedom of Information’ request and finds the lockdowns have destroyed a great many more than they saved. That the vax and lockdown are BAD. (and that we destroyed the global economy in the process he is not yet thinking of – but he does fallow India and Africa a lot, he has friends there from his working days – wait till he sees how their people and national economies are destroyed by lockdowns and a great poverty is coming…)
You can see he is shaken to his core – a man dazed and lost as reality has just mugged him, and everything he was told, and then told his million followers is WRONG.
Jan 23, the Great Washington DC Mandate Protest – be there in spirit at least – speakers include Bret Weinstein, Drs McCullough, and Malone. Remember to watch youtubes on that.
Thanks for that video link.
I always find Dr Campbell tedious but watching this one was worth it for the reasons you gave.
I liked the last bit where, after seeming a bit overwhelmed by what he’d just shown us, he went quiet and filmed a peaceful scene out of his window.
Up date: Campbell did his next video, and armed with CDC data showing (lies, great lies, and statistics) it is a plandemic of the unvaccinated he cheered up and returned to his masking/vaxing position.
Bret Weinstein (been on here 3-4 times I think) just dropped out of speaking at the great Jan 23 anti-mandate DC protest.
He waffles on about how he feels like he must remain outside the event to be a expert witness if things go bad (which must mean he believes they might) (although it has a feel of chickening out, but that is understandable as it could go bad)
There is a chance a riot may happen as the Elite managing this plandemic may pull false flag things – may use their ‘Domestic Terrorist. Political and Thought crime laws to destroy as many protestors lives as they can manage – now Biden has directed the USA Security forces to root out dissent by any means the secret police and security have:
“White supremacist terrorism is the deadliest threat to the United States, President Joe Biden told lawmakers Wednesday night as he aimed to pivot from the country’s post-9/11 foreign fights to one at home.”
You can understand Bret’s worries after the FBI (under General Garland’s instructions, under White House policy) classed parents protesting CRT and masks as domestic terrorism.
Bret – saying so https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqwMptiBfo
I hear all he data and different opinions on covid etc but sometimes standing back and looking at the wider picture is also something one has to do. For the moment, Real World Data is a new concept in medicine not yet much used by the research community so we have to do with just having views on things. A view means looking from a few steps back…
Lets try the following: we locked up the children in their homes (which are not always healthy places), scared the wits out of them, sometimes accused them off possibly killing granddad and grandma and reduced their chances to learn about life (in the widest possible sense) and, in the mean time, sent much of the available money in the world into the ‘safe hands of some’, knowing that poverty and lack of possibilities is one of the main drivers of illness and poor life experience….. in preparation for their future.
Should we not be ashamed of the society we live in?
What we don’t need, however, is to do that by imposing more safetyism, Covid-theatre and ‘precautions’.
The message must come from government that the ‘danger’ (which was never there for most children and working adults) has passed, that this is no longer a new virus but just another cold, and that we must behave entirely normally. This message must be permeated through all public sector organisations and the obsessive testing, masks, sanitising and the rest of it not only discontinued but banned.
This will not only benefit children, but public sector workers who are reluctant to return to the office while these absurd measures are in place. The unions must be faced down; they will make a lot of noise but their members cannot afford to strike. Pandering to ‘anxiety’ and hypochondria will make it worse, not better.
If we want to reassure people, we need someone who can be trusted. Someone where we are sure that if they say it is safe it is because they have checked the data and they really think it is safe – and if they thought there was still a risk they would say so. Not someone who had been systematically against all precautions and restrictions since the epidemic started. Not someone who could be suspected of caring more about placating his backbenchers and distracting from his career troubles than about what is likely to happen with the virus.
I should love to be reassured – but I find it hard to see who could do it. Independent SAGE?
Why independent Sage rather than normal Sage? Both are collections of eminent scientists. Why not the authors of the Gt Barrington declaration? All are very eminent people highly qualified in the field.
Assuming we could agree on”our” scientists, which news source would we get it from and what filters would be applied? Which Sage does the communist lady, who is always in favour of lockdown max, and is the BBC’s go to commenter, belong to?
I’m not sure we can keep blaming the politicians or even the media. There’s a lot of made up minds now and a plethora of sources to back up our own confirmation bias.
Perhaps most of us on here are too clever for our own boots. The majority of the population gets on with life, does what the government asks (with some personal interpretation) and eventually this will be another historical episode.
Just as the children that spent years petrified by air raid sirens grew up, so will these kids.
“Just as the children that spent years petrified by air raid sirens grew up, so will these kids.”
But back then we fought the ones bombing us, but in covid lockdown we were just bombing our selves.
That was total war, this was the elites making $$$ Trillions by pushing a fake cure for a not very deadly virus.
The missing school, the lockdowns, the fear, the masks, the destruction of the economy, the National Debt, the destroying of millions of businesses, this was for NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!! Sweden, Florida, South Dakota – they did not lockdown and mask – but they did better than the lockdown insanity places.
These children lost education, years of youth, mental and physical health, their economic future, all for NOTHING. That is the difference.
The official word is the children lost 2 years to give some few of the extremely old and unwell an extra year. Like a vampire – to give the old a better chance of a year more life we robbed it from the young, and took 100 of their years for every year saved in the old population.(and then locked them up for it too) (average age at covid death in UK 82.1, average UK lifespan with no covid 79)
You teachers should be ashamed if you did not fight this masking every step of the way.
Interesting bit of self reflection. Why am I faintly insulted by the label and miffed that my posts might have given any impression I’m a teacher.
I assure you most of my life has been spent shallowly chasing filthy lucre in the corporate salt mines.
Thank you – about time we grew up and realise that life is difficult with many problems to overcome. If you want emotionally strong adults, young people have to face challenges. Sometimes the failure in education spurs individuals to excel in their later careers. I have observed this first hand.
Rasmus – watch this guy – he has been pro vax from the start – now the truth is coming out and he is amazed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UHvwWWcjYw
Thanks – that was interesting to see. I watched it (though I generally hate getting this kind of info from video instead of text). It does make you think – particularly the average age of people dying from COVID being 82 – but his data (while real) are also cut so as to minimise the effects of COVID as much as possible.
- Comparing COVID death age with average life expectancy is known to be misleading. People who have lived till age 82 have an average of (I believe) about ten years of life left – because average life expectancy depends heavily on people who die young.
- Concentrating on deaths where COVID is the only condition given on the death certificate is a clear underestimate, leaving the impression that the other deaths should not count as they are not ‘really’ due to COVID. According to this report two thirds of people over 65 have a long-term health condition of some kind. So do a quarter of thirty-year-olds. Just how many people are we excluding here? And how long would they have lived were it not for COVID?
When he discusses cancer deaths he asks ‘how much longer could these people have lived were it not for the restrictions?’ That is a good question. When he discusses COVID deaths he does not ask that question. Why might that be?
So, these are interesting numbers, but the good Dr. Campbell is clearly not trying to give a fair or balanced picture of the situation. It all works in favour of the argument “COVID is not that dangerous, and anyway the victims are all old or weak and so would have died anyway. Not worth it taking all that trouble just for them”. Which could be true, of course, but I would want to see a balanced account before I took that one on board.
Anyway, this is one reason I prefer text. The actual statements of Dr Campbell are all honest and there is no gross manipulation – but he still manages to leave the watcher with the general impression that only 17000 people died of COVID and they were all so old they had only a few months to live on the average anyway. On video it takes a lot of work to detect and reject the mood music, go down to the data and stay there. On text it is much easier to stick to the actual information.
I haven’t watched it right through yet but was struck by the opening discussion of excess deaths. I think the 5 year average is around 500,000 so the figures quoted are a very very significant percentage. There is also a correlation (admittedly broad) with the excess deaths and those dying within 28 days of a positive covid test.
In short it may have killed the old and the infirm but a heck of a lot more of them died in 21/22 than would otherwise have been the case.
I’d be interested to see excess death figures worldwide over the next 5 years. My guess is we’ll see a big dip in the west and a big increase in the third world as lockdown inspired poverty and resulting political turbulence bites.
Elderly rich westerners were willing to sacrifice the lives and livelihoods of millions of the worlds poorest to lower their risk of catching a disease they had a better than 95% chance of surviving is still, I believe, a true statement and a moral wrong.
My first question in the early 2020 lockdowns in New York was, what about the economic damage? Human beings die from poverty as surely as disease and violence. But, we were reassured the goal was to flatten the curve. I didn’t anticipate the totalitarians and their army of media feeding the anxiety-prone half of the population with fear of the disease rather than the economic and psychological consequences. Still, I am hesitant to attribute this to money-hungry Westerners rather than power-hungry (Western) politicians and media polishing their narcissism. Regardless, the outcome is the same: sacrificing “the lives and livelihoods of millions of the worlds poorest to lower their risk of catching a disease.”
This link gives the Economist’s estimate of excess deaths from the COVID pandemic. The headline number is 19.8 million deaths worldwide, which is 3.5 times the official figure of 5.6 million (and with a large uncertainty, of course). Of course it does not tell us directly how many of those deaths were from COVID, and how many from hospitals being closed, economic disruption etc. But the numbers are certainly big.
You are quite right that we need to consider all the consequences. Yet it would be good to see it translated into actual numbers. How many elderly people would have to die in order to keep the worldwide tourism business humming and avoid economic damage in the tourist destinations? And how many people would it save? 95% survival rate sounds nice and safe. 5% death rate – a child in every school class, or eight people in every plane-load of tourists, sounds like a risk I would not be willing to take.
No one is saying children die of covid – no classes are to lose a student from covid except in the most extremely unlikely cases.
Not many, no. But ‘a child in every class’ is my normal illustration of a 5% risk that touches everybody. Can you think of an equally intuitive example that involves only adults?
“How many elderly people would have to die in order to keep the worldwide tourism business humming and avoid economic damage in the tourist destinations?”
Valid questions which raise another very important question. It seems we were able to model predictions of Covid deaths almost from day 1 when next to nothing was known about it. We can apparently model something as immensely complex as climate change.
Where are the “impact of lockdown” models? Why has there never (to my knowledge) been any data backed “either or” public debate?
The modelling was always an exercise in scenario planning. Gupta made a model that showed that the pandemic had finished in summer 2020, because everybody would be immune by then, just like Ferguson made models that showed lots of dead. Do enough different models with different kinds of plausible assumptions, and you get a feel for the plausible outcomes and their consequences. And with some fairly well-developed models for the spread of flu and a few simple numbers that characterise the behaviour of the virus, you could make some rough guesses, at least, as to the number and timing of deaths. The part that was impossible to predict was always the human behaviour.
I would very much welcome a data-backed ‘either/or’ debate, but we have to accpept that predicting the world economy, which is 100% human behaviour is much harder than predicting epidemics – so hard as to render the results meaningless. Even predicting the effects of the Barrington declaration rigorously would seem to be impossible – and anyway no one has tried. How could you put into a model how successful a containment policy would be at protecting the vulnerable?
Accepted it would be staggeringly difficult but I can’t imagine more so than climate modelling.
Behavioural scientists seemed to be involved early on, surely they use modelling of some sort? I would imagine there is data about the impact of recessions on health outcomes.
Even if we ignore the wider economic impacts we must know how many heart attacks, cancer deaths etc there are in any given year and should therefore be able to model changes in those.
To be honest I don’t have much faith in modelling at all but there is surely a clear need to balance the debate. We are not short of data on Covid harms. If there is no attempt to investigate or discuss lock down harms (or even openly admit they exist) the debate can only ever go one way. Apart from anything else, if people become aware they’re only getting one side of an argument, distrust grows.
There is absolutely a need to balance the debate – or rather to get all the data we need to choose from. And some data on cancer deaths etc. should be achievable – and welcome. I would say it is *much* harder than climate modelling, though. There the physics does not change with time and is well understood, the relevant data are measurable and objective, we have years of relevant data to look at; after that it is just 😉 a matter of modeling an extremely complex system. Social interactions are essentially unknowable by comparison; let us say that when you can predict the current epidemic of opioid addiction and deaths solely from pre-2000 data, then you can make reliable predictions on the economy.
Also I must admit I have a big problem with any line of arguments that could be taken to suggest there is a moral duty on us to keep getting richer (poverty kills, right), or to keep travelling to Egypt and the Maldives on holiday to protect the livelihood of the locals.
“ suggest there is a moral duty on us to keep getting richer (poverty kills, right), or to keep travelling to Egypt and the Maldives on holiday to protect the livelihood of the locals” is from the same linguistic box of tricks as 95%.
A line of argument that acknowledges global capitalism has lifted billions out of abject poverty since the war seems valid to me. It also seems logical that shutting it down will take those people back into desperate poverty (and yes it does kill). Tourism is a small and easily attackable element in the global economy. We shut everything down.
If we just can’t predict at all what humans will do what do behavioural scientists do? Why do governments have nudge units? If global warming is man made how do we manage to predict it when we can’t predict what humans will do?
I think we probably agree on the core point – more data is necessary, which brings us back to where we started. It’s my belief (a guess I know) that average deaths pa in the west will decrease very substantially over the next 5 years because those people that would have died in that period died in 20/21. In the third world the average deaths will increase substantially, largely as a result of the myriad ripple effects of lockdown policies.
“is from the same linguistic box of tricks as 95%“. Admitted, you have a point there. But it does have the advantage of of making it more concrete what we are talking about. What would be a fairer – but concrete – example? Anti-COVID measures have not shut down ‘global capitalism’, we are still both global and capitalist. The main things shut down have been hospitality, in-person entertainment, and shopping – in the rich world – as well as travel, and tourism worldwide. Which people exactly are being taken back into abject poverty by western lockdowns?
Here’s a link.
A quick search finds dozens of articles of this nature for all sorts of territories.
I chose Nigeria because of a recent conversation with an underwriter of terrorism insurance. They monitor “candidates” for widespread civil strife. Apparently Nigeria has elections this year and is top of their list because of its economic and social fragility following the pandemic. Interestingly the US was also mentioned!
I’m not sure lockdowns, will be acknowledged as the proximate cause of deaths in an insurgency, but serious economic collapse does lead to trouble in parts of the world that aren’t quite as rich as we are.
You could say that’s an impact of Nigeria locking down, not western lockdowns, which would be fair enough, but I think the lockdown impetus came from the west.
I would say, yes, that “that’s an impact of Nigeria locking down, not western lockdowns”. And without minimising the hit taken by Nigeria, are you really suggesting that European countries should limit their health policy choices to those that would also make sense if adopted by Nigeria, in case the Nigerian government is incapable of taking its own decisions and chooses to uncritically copy us? That does not make sense to me. Surely each country should adopt the local measures that best serve its own population.
The direct conduits from the world economy to Nigeria seem to be a lowering of the oil price (but surely you cannot argue that we have a moral obligation to keep the oil price high?) Finally there is remittances. That, yes, is a direct damage done to Nigeria by European policies. And, yes, a general recession will be felt everywhere – which may be a better example than my tourism. So, yes, these things do need to be taken into account, and some of them (as you note) can be quantified. But I am still a little unconvinced, in part because it seems to me that these considerations are very selectively applied. I suspect few of the people who claim we should have avoided lockdowns at the cost of thousands of additional dead in order to save the Nigerian economy would be in favour of setting European aid budgets, tariff systems, or immigration rules to favour the welfare of Nigeria over their own people. In short – is this just an excuse to favour the policies people want anyway for reasons that have nothing to do with Nigeria?
I think we can agree a global recession will be felt everywhere. We can probably agree a recession in the rich west is much less likely to produce extreme effects for the population (up to and including starvation) than it is in a poor country.
We can agree that third world countries can make their own health policies and live by the consequences. Can we agree that the third world will take a lead in many things from the actions of the first world, which has more scientists, medical experts etc? There is therefore influence and responsibility there.
I’m sure we can agree the disease is aerosol spread and therefore limiting human contact must reduce the spread.
We can probably agree that lockdown is a very loose term. Restrictions could have been put in place in all sorts of ways (Sweden, Florida, Gt Barrington) short of complete shut down of nearly all economic activity.
Do we agree that all populations have people who tend towards authoritarianism and that encouraging that tendency can activate the law of unforeseen consequences?
The difference between us seems to be the relevant weight we give to some of these issues rather than fundamental principles. It’s probably also true to say that the issue is so multi faceted and complex that enough data isn’t (and may never be) available and, if it was, it would be almost impossible to draw an utterly unbiased conclusion because our individual confirmation biases will always attribute different weights to different elements of the data.
Thanks, I’ve enjoyed the conversation.
I’d agree with all of that. I would just add that all populations also have people who tend towards conspiracy theories, rejection of established knowledge in favour of cult opinions, and a refusal to waive their own interests or opinions no matter what the damage to anyone else. That is not a tendency it is good to encourage either.
I’ve enjoyed the conversation as well – and even learned something.
A very interesting thing is ‘All Cause Mortality’ and so ‘Excess Mortality’
According to a very large life insurance company the deaths in the 28 – 40 have been 40% above normal. They did not die of covid – so something else killed them – during the covid response, and they are part of the ‘Excess Death’ numbers – but NOT covid directly. Drs McCullough and Malone say it is maybe vax related as VAERS now shows 20,000 vaccine deaths, and it may only be a small amount of actual deaths. Maybe vaccine is killing a lot of people. Drug overdoses are killing way more than covid in the similar demographics – a pandemic of drug deaths. Maybe more are dieing of covid response than of covid
Maybe. But before I believe any of it, I would like to see some fairly precise analysis. Just to remind you: VAERS death records are deaths *after* being vaccinated, not death *from* being vaccinated – and, unlike COVID, there is no reason to think vaccines should kill lots fo people and no evidence of a mechanism that could do it at that scale.. You can prove any ‘maybe’ if you carefully pick which data to look at.
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