Since the start of the pandemic and the first lockdowns, many health experts warned that most of the measures, especially the lockdowns, will negatively impact everyone’s mental health. Year and half later since the start of the pandemic, it turns out they were completely right.
Whether one likes it or now, the pandemic affects everyone, from adults to children. What comes as a great concern is that there is rising number of anxiety and depression cases in children and teenagers across the country.
Experts warn that unlike adults, children and teenagers need more dedicated time to overcome the situation. Parents should detect their children’s problems and should not ignore the issues. Experts additionally say schools need more counselors on campuses and parents must talk with their kids.
“One thing we have found is that the rates of mental health problems among kids, particularly anxiety and stress, have doubled during the pandemic,” explained Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric at Harvard School of Public Health.
The T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard is holding a forum on that topic.
Numerous recent studies show that there is increasing number of children and teenagers with anxiety, depression and behavioral problems since the start of the pandemic last year.
Erin Drentlaw, a mother of three including a teenager, spoke publicly about the problems her teenage daughter faced since March 2020 and confirmed that the past year and a half has been the hardest period for her.
“She’s been home a lot more, which most teenagers like to be out and about with their friends. Not necessarily home with their parents,” she said. “And she feels as though she missed a year of school and is having trouble catching up.”
“It’s a tough time, and I think parents and schools are really bearing the brunt of it,” Koenen said.
According to Koenen, teenagers are the most affected age group of the pandemic and multiple studies have shown that their social skills have fallen during the period. This is very concerning since teenagers are in their developing stage in life and this might directly affect their future if not properly treated now.
In an effort to overcome the stress of the pandemic, experts encourage parents to talk with their kids about the virus, especially about the vaccines.
“If they’ve seen their parents’ reassurance and the parents are giving the message that getting vaccinated is positive, then that’s a huge positive. And it will make them feel better,” Koenen said.