WINDSOR, ONT. -- Researchers are conducting a study looking into the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental health of children in the Windsor-Essex area.

A team of researchers in the department of psychology at the University of Windsor are partnering with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Virginia Commonwealth University to conduct an online study on how the crisis has affected children in the region.

“Beyond the immediate impact of the virus itself, the global COVID-19 pandemic poses significant risks to public mental health that will persist long after the pandemic has subsided,” Dr. Lance Rappaport, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Windsor said in a news release.

“Research on other large-scale traumas, such as natural disasters, documented extensive anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. Most prior research has focused on adult mental health. The limited youth research indicates similar or worse outcomes among children whose safety, health, and psychological well-being depend on the safety and well-being of parents and caregivers.”

Dr. Rappaport stated there is a need to identify resources at both the public and individual level to “mitigate the widespread mental health consequences that commonly follow global disasters.”

Children between the age of nine and 13 along with their parents are invited to take part in the study. The study will include a 30-minute questionnaire about how the child has been feeling and what they have been doing during the pandemic.

After that, for six months (July through December) and once in March 2021 both parent and child will receive follow up questionnaires about the same topics.

Each family will receive a $12 electronic gift card and a $9 gift card for each of the seven follow-ups.

The study results will help to inform the development of mental health services for kids locally.

To participate in the study visit their website.