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Mental Health Status of High School Students in Khartoum State, Sudan During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 June 2022

Randa Altamih*
Affiliation:
Faculty of Medicine, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan
Osman Elmahi
Affiliation:
Faculty of Medicine, Ibn Sina University, Khartoum, Sudan
*
*Presenting author.
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Abstract

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Aims

This study sought to assess mental health status of high school students in Khartoum State, to evaluate the participants’ adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures and to identify factors associated with commitment to COVID-19 guidelines and mental health status during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods

This was a descriptive, cross-sectional and institution-based study. 364 post-primary students in 10 schools were selected by multistage stratified cluster sampling. Mental health status was evaluated using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Chi-square testing was used to identify influencing factors of mental health status and commitment to practicing COVID-19 preventive measures.

Results

A median commitment score of 2/5 was achieved. 70.8% of students in this study demonstrated low commitment (< 50%) to practicing COVID-19 preventive guidelines. Commitment to COVID-19 preventive measures was significantly associated with gender (p = 0.047), academic year (p = 0.033) and post-primary schools attended by the participants (p < 0.001). 36.5% of the participants’ GHQ-12 scores demonstrated severe psychological distress (GHQ-12 > 20/36). A mean GHQ-12 score of 18.4 and median of 19 was achieved, indicating moderate to severe psychological distress. GHQ-12 scores were significantly associated with incidence of COVID-19 infection among family members (p = 0.016).

Conclusion

Over one-third of high school students in Khartoum State demonstrated moderate to severe psychological distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was significantly associated with first-degree family members having a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Commitment to preventive measures set by the General Directorate of Global Health was significantly associated with gender and academic year. A lesser psychological impact could be achieved through timely health education, expression of confidence in professional healthcare providers and perception of sound health status, together with consistent public health campaigning.

Type
Research
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
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