We bring attention to some warning signs relating to mental health. This is particular important at this time.
In time of stress, mental health is increasingly important. We consider some warning signs.
Your child’s mental health during times of stress
According to The Guardian, fewer young people are receiving help with mental health issues. This is despite levels of anxiety and depression having risen sharply in the under 18 age group.
Reasons include mental health services being suspended or restricted and a lack of in-person engagement. The closure of schools – a first point of referral for distressed children – has certainly not helped.
Lockdowns have negatively impacted many children
Almost one in four children living under COVID-19 lockdowns, social restrictions and school closures are dealing with feelings of anxiety, with many at risk of lasting psychological distress, including depression. In recent surveys by Save the Children of over 6000 children and parents in the US, Germany, Finland, Spain and the UK, up to 65 per cent of the children struggled with boredom and feelings of isolation.”
Reliefweb International, 7 May 2020
The pandemic has turned the lives of millions of children and young people upside down. Many young people are finding it hard to cope with isolation, a loss of routine, anxiety about the future, a disruption to their education, and in some cases difficult or traumatic experiences at home.”
Emma Thomas of YoungMinds, a leading UK not-for-profit championing mental health for young people
The impact of COVID-19 on children's mental health
While it has been a challenging time for parents, children have felt the effects of social distancing and isolation with far-reaching effects. The British Psychological Society, together with more than thirty other organisations, have written an open letter to the Government. This letter was urging them to limit the long-term impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health.
What should parents consider for their child's mental health?
However, you may find your children require additional support.
Some warning signs to be aware of in your child’s behaviour that could indicate impaired mental health can be remembered by using the acronym MASK:
M – Mood
They get irritable, argumentative or aggressive towards you. They may blame you if things go wrong. They can also become withdrawn.
A – Actions
They may experience changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Look out for any signs of bullying, over- or under-eating or self-harm.
S – Social
They suddenly appear especially bored, lonely or withdrawn or they start to get into trouble. Losing interest in friends and other things they liked to do or loss of interest and motivation with schoolwork are common warning signs.
K - Keep talking
Refusing or being reluctant to talk about how they’re feeling is common. But keep listening and ask how they are feeling. When they do open up, make sure they know there’s someone there who really cares.
Please note that these symptoms are by no means diagnostic in nature. Professional advice is always preferable, especially if you have any doubt as to what may be causing the change in your child’s behaviour.
Where can I get extra help for my child's mental health?
Fortunately, there is plenty of help at hand and we recommend reaching out to the team at YoungMinds where you will find many resources and professional support available.
Other sources of support include:
We are also here to help with any learning issues relating to anxiety and social and emotional mental health. Feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced directors to discuss your needs. We offer a free consultation and a free trial lesson to help build rapport.
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