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Protecting our children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

How do I social distance in this tiny dorm room? Everything I enjoy doing is cancelled. I am lonely, sad, and have nothing to look forward to in the future. I am scared. 

“These are some of the concerns shared with me by my patients from young childhood through college,” says Dr. James C. Anderson, Pediatrician at ARC Far West. “Their words exemplify the profoundly negative impact COVID-19 pandemic is having on the mental health of our children, leading to anxiety and depression. By recognizing the symptoms and intervening, we can reverse this trend and lead our children back to a future of hope, happiness, and positivity.”

Symptoms suggestive of anxiety when they occur nearly every day include:

  • Feeling nervous, anxious, or edgy
  • Inability to stop/control worrying
  • Obsessing about different things
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Restlessness
  • Easily annoyed or irritable
  • Feeling afraid as if something awful may happen

Symptoms suggestive of depression when they occur nearly every day include:

  • Little interest or pleasure in doing things you previously enjoyed doing
  • Feeling down, depressed, and/or hopeless
  • Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or having little energy
  • Poor appetite or over-eating
  • Feeling bad about yourself
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Thoughts that the world would be better without you in it or thoughts of self-harm

How can I help my child who may have anxiety or depression?

“Be positive; search for ‘silver linings’ in life experiences shared during the pandemic,” says Dr. Anderson.  “For example, remote learning can help your high school student improve time management and organization which will benefit their freshman college year.”

Have open, honest and transparent conversations about how your children are feeling.  

“Validate that being scared and afraid are normal reactions in times of uncertainty”, adds Dr. Anderson.  “Teach your child to not be fearful; but to approach situations of challenge with positivity and creativity.”

“We can help our children overcome the anxiety and depression they may be experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Dr. Anderson. “Watch for symptoms, get involved, and call your healthcare provider for help and guidance.”

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Anderson or any ARC Pediatrician, you can do so online at ARCBookNow.com or by calling 512-272-4636.

Tags: Anxiety, Depression, COVID-19, mental health

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