Supporting Children and Families Through COVID-19 With Therapy

Every age group has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has harmed families in unprecedented ways and taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. From social isolation to loss of normalcy, the last 18 months have been tough for everyone, but especially for children. Here’s a summary of the key issues affecting young people in this crisis.

Impacts of COVID-19

  • Stressful Home Environments – With parents working from home and kids in a constant loop of in-school versus virtual learning, the pandemic has changed family dynamics and created stressful home environments for several children.
  • Food Insecurity – Food insecurity in America has increased. As a result, childhood hunger has reached startling levels.
  • Fear of Germs – Fear of germs is common among kids with anxiety and OCD, and the pandemic has intensified these fears. 
  • Returning to School – Kids worry about making friends, bullies, and getting good grades. Adding a global pandemic on top of these typical back-to-school stressors could easily overwhelm kids.
  • Social Interactions – Adverse effects of this isolation can cause kids to experience increased rates of loneliness and social anxiety.
  • Grief – the loss of a loved one can affect their sense of security and increase their risk of depression and anxiety.

Effects on Mental Health

  • Suicide Attempts: The number of teenagers hospitalized for suspected suicide attempts spiked in 2020 and 2021. Girls are especially at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the rate at which girls ages 12 through 17 were visiting the emergency room for suicide attempts between February and March of 2021 increased nearly 51% compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Depression and Anxiety: According to recent research, depression and anxiety in children and teenagers doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 teen boys have experienced new or worsening anxiety since the pandemic began.
  • Lasting Effects: The ability for teenagers and children to socialize, exercise, eat well, and more was compromised due to the pandemic. 

Benefits of Therapy

With anxiety on the rise and everyone’s emotions intensified, families need therapy now more than ever. Therapy can help give children and teenagers the coping skills they need to deal with their feelings in a productive way. In these challenging times, therapy can be a lifeline for children and teenagers in pain.

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