How the pandemic affects children’s mental health

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 4:34 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) -Amidst the global health pandemic, there is an additional health crisis emerging among our youth. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on mental health in children by raising anxiety due to lack of structure and routine, as well as transitioning from different educational practices.

Many of the changes to society, such as remote learning, wearing masks and social distancing may seem drastic to young children which makes it hard for them to adapt to the new concepts.

During these times, various people of all ages have turned to social media to stay connected with family and friends. However, in young children, too much social media can be detrimental to their mental state.

“Given that we had to social distance, quarantine, etc. the only way the only way some children have connected with their family is through a social media avenue,” said Licensed Mental Health Practitioner Fran Rieken.

Transitioning from attending school via technology to in-person learning has initiated stressors in some youth.

“Some of them are thinking things like: am I going to graduate, am I not?” said Rieken. “To add more to their plate, activities are being canceled. But, when school resumed some children’s anxiety went away.”

For others, their anxiety increased because of the constant changes to their schedule and they longed for more structure and normalcy. By finding ways to get children back on a routine, it can help alleviate some external factors causing their anxiety to increase in other situations.

As the healthcare professionals continue battling the coronavirus on the frontline and vaccines become readily available for more people, parents and guardians can begin to reclaim order and structure in their child’s lives, which may make the child feel more at ease.

“Encourage optimism that scientists, doctors and other professionals are working to help the pandemic,” said Rieken.

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