Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Services Research & Administration

First Committee Member

Dr. Jungyoon Kim

Second Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Strong

Third Committee Member

Dr. Peter Szto


Mental health is vital to the well-being of all individuals, especially children. COVID-19 unveiled a significant public health issue with poor mental health during the pandemic. There is limited literature about the mental health implications of COVID-19 policies for children and adolescents and preventive strategies for future pandemics. This comprehensive literature review seeks to further investigate the mental health impacts of school shutdowns and social distancing, which were nonpharmaceutical strategies, on school-aged children, 5-18 years old, and propose recommendations for public health officials to mitigate the mental health impacts for future pandemics. Additionally, the review aims to highlight the potential relationship between lower socio-economic status and mental health in children. The review used peer-reviewed and gray literature. The research was conducted utilizing databases: PubMed, Google Scholar, and PsychNet. Key terms for the search criteria included “mental health” and “children”, “COVID-19”, “adolescents”, and “United States”. Key findings from the literature review highlight increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation. Additionally, a link between socioeconomic status and mental health issues was discussed. The review concludes with public health recommendations for future pandemics for this population.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 23, 2024