Among those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic are teenagers and children. For these populations, specifically, virtual classes and social isolation from their peers are causing a great amount of stress and anxiety. Right now, children and teens across the country are being hit hard by a mental health crisis. The eleven to seventeen-year-old population particularly are the most likely group to be experiencing high levels of anxiety.
On top of the trauma of schools shutting down and a global spread of fear and unease, many of our youth are also experiencing food insecurity, a parent’s job loss, uncertainty about the future, and possibly even the death of a loved one from COVID-19. This makes the conversation about children, teens, and mental health more important than ever.
Children and teenagers aren’t necessarily able to understand what is happening in the world. This confusion and fear can easily morph into anger, anxiety, and depression. Consequently, depression rates among teens and children are currently on the rise. According to the CDC, the emergency room saw a 31% increase in mental health visits from youth ages twelve to seventeen over this past spring and summer.
Although some school districts across the country have returned to campus, many students are still attending class 100% online. These students are dealing with extreme isolation, screen burnout, and confusion about how long this new reality will last. For those students that have already returned to the classroom, many are attending hybrid classes which are half online and half in-person. When they are in the classroom, they are wearing masks, seated six feet away from their classmates, and are positioned behind a sheet of plastic. Even while on the playground, our youth are wearing masks to protect themselves and others.
It is essential that we are aware of and talk about the effects these measures have on our youth’s mental health, now and for many years to come. Warning signs of poor or unstable mental health in the youth population – anyone kindergarten through college-age – include excessive sleep, not wanting to leave their room, no longer wanting to participate in activities they used to enjoy, and loss of appetite or change in eating patterns.
If you believe that your child is going to harm themselves, it is essential to seek immediate help. Take your child to the hospital if and when you ever suspect they will cause themselves physical harm. If you believe your child is suffering mentally, either from depression or anxiety or any other symptoms related to social isolation, seek help. This is uncharted territory for our youth and we are all in this together. No one is expecting you or your child to get through this alone. The more we use the resources around us, the better.
Group therapy can often be beneficial for children and teenagers. Whether this is conducted online or in-person, speaking to their peers, telling their story, and hearing that others are experiencing something similar can work wonders for their mental health. Often, children need to be heard and to understand that they aren’t alone.
Right now, it is on all of us to keep the conversation about mental health going. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and as a country, and a world, we are experiencing a mental health crisis due to the shutdown of the coronavirus one year ago. Open and honest conversations about mental health normalize what we are experiencing and go a long way towards removing the stigma associated with therapy and mental health concerns. Thank you for being a part of this conversation.
At The Relationship Therapy Center, we believe this conversation is essential to the health of our youth. We are here to support you in any way that we can. If you would like to book a therapy session, for you or for your child, please contact us today. Our offices are located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, California. We are also available for phone consultations.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to children and teen therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Children and teen therapy can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process and help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love healthy.