September 2020

The University of Nicosia Medical School is pleased to announce the launch of the research project ‘The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of adolescents in Cyprus (COVID Nine-TEEN Health).’ The researchers at the University of Nicosia Medical School who are involved in this study are: Prof Paola Nicolaides, Dr Constantina Constantinou, Dr Stelios Georgiades, Dr Ourania Kolokotroni, Dr Anna Polyniki and Ms Maria Perdikogianni. The current project aims to investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of adolescents in Cyprus.

The world is currently experiencing a pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome‑Coronavirus‑2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), a novel beta coronavirus that is responsible for the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The continuous spread of the epidemic and the emerged condition in most countries, led people to experience the imposed self-isolation, home quarantine and social distancing.  Also, the recognition that these experiences are associated with severe morbidity and death combined with the inexperience of dealing with such circumstances, are likely to have a significant effect on the mental health of individuals across all age groups.  There have been several reports on the general public, including children, patients and health care professionals, supporting the expected psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, a  study specifically addressing the mental health status across adolescents during the Covid-19 pandemic has not been conducted to date.   Adolescents, unlike any other age group, rely heavily on friendships and social contacts as these play an important role in the development of their identity and personality.  The suspension of schools and the severe restrictions imposed through social distancing from their friends and peers may have had additional impact on their mental health.

There is little doubt that the Cypriot community has gone through an unprecedented crisis. Therefore, it is important to investigate and identify the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the mental health of adolescents, with the intention to develop tools that would potentially help them cope and overcome their difficulties.

The project has received approval from the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee and it is expected to start in September 2020.