Children’s Mental Health During COVID
According to Childrens.com
“The pandemic has been difficult, especially for kids who already struggle with depression and anxiety,” says Brooke Gomez, LPC, a clinical therapist at Children’s Health℠. “One of the things we advocate for mental health is reaching out, socializing and leaning on a social support system. But because of COVID-19, now we’re telling families to do the opposite and stay socially distanced, to protect their physical health.”
Kids may also be experiencing disappointment or grief about losing time with friends or missed milestones like graduations, school dances, sporting events or other extracurricular activities. One national survey of 3,300 high school students conducted early in the pandemic showed that 30% felt unhappy and depressed much more than usual. As the pandemic continues, those feelings may persist or deepen.
“Many kids are grieving a loss of a sense of normalcy,” Gomez says.
How Can We Support Our Child’s Mental Health?
Check in routinely
Make it a habit to check in with your children on a regular basis and see how they’re doing and how their day is going. Make these discussions a part of your everyday routine, either at dinnertime or right before the kids go to bed.
Listening and validating
If your child shows sadness or worry, avoid the temptation to “fix” the issue right away. Instead, tell them that it’s okay – and even understandable – for them to be feeling this way right now.
Focus children’s attention on what they can control.
One way to help children cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic is to direct their attention to aspects of their lives that they can influence right now.