May is Mental Health Awareness Month. One of the few positives that have occurred over the course of this pandemic is the increased attention on mental health. However, this has come at the expense of the deterioration of both children and adult mental health over the past year. It appears Depression and Anxiety rates are three to four times higher than pre-pandemic. Cook Children’s has launched a campaign to raise awareness about suicide. They have treated double the number of suicidal patients in a given month. Suicidal death was the leading cause of traumatic death at Cook’s Children’s in 2020.
As we near the one year mark of the pandemic research is trickling in on the psychological effects on children and adults. Finally, with some light at the end of this dark tunnel we will begin to see improvements in these statistics over the coming months. Hope and optimism can buffer our kids and mitigate these issues from becoming long-term mental health problems. What we do know is the effects of this pandemic on our children can be compared to those of children who have survived natural disasters. A study of 10,000 high school students revealed that classroom students are faring better. They have lower rates of stress and worry than their online peers. However, high school students overall are reporting a 56.4% increase in stress compared to a year ago. Another study indicates there is a 24% increase in mental health visits to emergency rooms among 5-11 year olds and a 31% increase in these visits among teenagers. I’m optimistic we will resume some sense of normalcy sooner rather than later but our kids need our continued support and understanding.
Back to school
Unicef provides some good tips on supporting our kids’ mental health as they return to school during the pandemic.
I can’t believe I have an 8th Grader and High School Senior.
May is Mental Health Month
Clearly, this is the most difficult mental health month on record. Many of us worry covid-19 mental health effects could be a pandemic as well. However, most children are likely to bounce back and could become more resilient if this is only short term. Teens will undoubtedly struggle more with the added stress. Much of our kids’ resiliency will be tied to the safety and security of their families. Our hope is this pandemic is short term. But it will affect kids in different ways and they will remember it differently depending on their age. I am here to help you, your children and teenagers become more resilient and develop stronger coping skills. Resiliency and coping skills to carry with them long after this pandemic is over.
Signs to look for in kids during this health crisis
It’s no secret both kids and adults do not fair well with uncertainty. For our kids it’s the loss of normalcy, routines, peer and teacher relationships, isolation and lack of activity. When they struggle we see changes in their mood and behavior. Here are 10 mental health signs to look out for in your kids.
Spring Newsletter – To Be ‘Still’ and Not Overthink
How to talk to your kids about the Coronavirus
Parenting isn’t over
Mark McConville in the Wall Street Journal writes that parenting isn’t over when your children ‘launch’ to college or a job. More and more young adults continue to rely on the support of their parents. The real challenge is how to help them without undermining their independence.
Middle school is about lunch
Lydia Denworth’s excellent article synthesizing her book on our kids’ friendships and their neurobiology. Friendship is a more influential force for our kids than most of us realize. Brain research is proving friendships dramatic effects on such things as peer pressure, social buffering and the prevention or exacerbation of stress and mental health disorders.