In June 2021, almost a year and a half after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report that showed a very grim picture of the psychological health of young children and adolescents. It said that hospital emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts by young girls aged 12-17 went up by more than 50 percent in February and March 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.
This is alarming. The pandemic has brought about significant mental health problems to not only adults but children as well.
Remote schooling, confinement, staying away from friends and peers and no social visits by family and acquaintances—all these unprecedented scenarios have come to affect the children dearly, giving rise to prominent behavioral health issues in them.
It is still a gnawing problem despite being into the second year of the pandemic as parents and families struggle to cope with the deteriorating mental health of the children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association issued a joint statement on October 19, 2021, saying that the Covid-19 pandemic worsened an already prevalent behavioral health crisis among children and teens in the United States.
In a statement, Gabrielle A. Carlson, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry said, “We are caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, their communities, and all of our futures. We cannot sit idly by.”
Addressing children’s mental health problems
A growing number of families have reached out to counselors to seek treatment for their young children fighting with pandemic-induced mental health problems. Children are now receiving therapies from counselors regularly to deal with their worries and stress.
Children are away from all normal activities they are supposed to do and enjoy ever since the pandemic broke out. This has not only put a strain on their psychological health but also physical health.
Outdoor activities for them are so important because mental health and physical health are inextricably linked. Every child needs physical activity, good nutrition, and proper sleep to maintain perfect health. Children require perfect bedtime routines and a consistent regular schedule, which has been upended during the pandemic. Their routine has become erratic whereas they need to go to bed at a similar time each evening and wake up at a similar time every morning. This has put a tremendous negative influence on their psyche that it is time to look at it seriously. And it is not only in the U.S., it has become a global malady.
Parents should look for symptoms if their wards are behaving away from normal and heed the advice of experts immediately. Children may have different symptoms than adults even though they are likely to suffer from the same set of mental health problems.
It is usually difficult for parents to identify when their children struggle with any mental health condition. Yet, it cannot be left that way and they have to make efforts to find out.
Some of the warning signs of any behavioral health issue with children are as below:
- Persistent sadness for over two weeks
- Withdrawing from social interactions (although an aberration during the pandemic)
- Hurting oneself or talking on similar lines
- Talking about death or suicide
- Outbursts or extreme irritability
- Uncontrolled behavior that can be harmful
- Drastic upheavals in mood, behavior, or personality
- Changes in eating habits, timings
- Loss of weight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in academic performance (expected during Covid times though)
- Avoiding online sessions or classes etc.
Always look for these signs in your child to rule out any possibility of a mental health issue during these trying times.
The best way to deal with any mental health problem is to go for treatment intervention at the earliest. It not only ensures a smooth treatment process but also helps in gaining long-term recovery.
So, are you or a loved one is grappling with any mental health condition? Medical Concierge can help you access the best inpatient mental health treatment in California for a speedy recovery. We have tie-ups with some of the quality residential mental health facilities in California offering treatment in a safe and luxurious ambiance. Call our 24/7 helpline number 877-636-0042 now for immediate assistance.