Already their bodies are battling nerves, hormones and where they fit in in their communities. Add a global pandemic, and everything gets magnified, creating a huge impact on their mental health.
According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, twice as many kids and teens experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic than those that had pre-pandemic. Globally, one in four were depressed, while one in five were dealing with elevated levels of anxiety. And it’s no wonder.
Schools closed and remote learning became the norm. Opportunities to meet up with peers or supportive adults outside the home dwindled. Extracurricular activities and hobbies all but stopped. Not to mention the constantly changing conditions and disruption to routine.
According to Child Clinical Psychologist Jenna Glover, that chronic stress can lead to feeling hopeless, and that can lead to thoughts of suicide. But there is a way to turn things around and help kids and teens cope in a healthier way.
Talk to your kids. Keep as regular a routine as you can. Have them in school if it’s safe. Monitor their sleeping and eating habits and their mood. And remember to seek help from a mental health professional if necessary.
If you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, know that there is help available. You can call the suicide prevention hotline anytime at 1-800-273-8255 to be connected to a counselor.