The pandemic has been hard on adults. But for children and teens, the past year has meant isolation, hours in front of a screen, and a lot changes. And now, many are heading back into the classroom.
"Some basic things that we can do as parents, first of all, talk through concerns with them, ask them how they're feeling about going back, what are the things you're most excited about? What are the things that you might be concerned about? If you are concerned, parents might be surprised that a kid who seems totally fine with it might record a lot of concerns, and another kid who seems a bit worried might be able to find a lot of things they're excited about," explained Parker Huston, a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio and clinical director for On Our Sleeves.
According to a recent poll from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, 46% of parents have noticed new or worsening mental health conditions among their teenage children since the pandemic began. So experts say pay attention to prolonged behavioral changes.
"If these behaviors or recurring over and over again for weeks or months, and you're noticing that the child is beginning to maybe isolate themselves more, not enjoying a lot of activities that they used to enjoy, maybe they're having difficulties in terms of like eating or sleeping, all of those may be some warning signs that it's more than just sort of these typical behaviors or experiences that the child may have," encouraged Erlanger Turner an assistant professor of psychology at Pepperdine University and author of "Mental Health Among African Americans: Innovations in Research and Practice."
Free and low-cost health care for people of all ages can be found online through the federal government at https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/ or by calling (800) 662-HELP.
Amber Strong, Newsy, Washington.