New research highlights physical and mental damage suffered by left-behind children

Left-behind children have increased risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, conduct disorder, substance use, wasting and stunting – as compared to children of non-migrants.

That’s the conclusion of a major new study released this week.

Its findings include the recommendation:

“Parental migration is detrimental to the health of left-behind children and adolescents, with no evidence of any benefit. Policy makers and health-care professionals need to take action to improve the health of these young people.”

This is the largest and most comprehensive study to date to assess the impact of parental migration on all key areas of child and adolescent health across low-income and middle-income countries.

The report funded by the Wellcome Trust outlines:

“In China, where the most research has been done to date, studies have shown poorer nutritional, developmental and mental health outcomes in left-behind children than children of non-migrant parents.”

Read the report in full here.

Read about OneSky’s work with left-behind children in China’s rural villages.