Mental Health Practices For Youth
Lets get ready for another week! This current situation has been difficult for many people, adults and children alike, as the world has never dealt with a pandemic of this magnitude. Most of the time, though, adults have more coping skills in place to deal with changes. Children and youth rely on their friends and families for much of their coping skills and with many places resorting to shelter at home orders, children can often feel alone and scared. While mental health concerns should be monitored regularly, we may want to be more acutely aware in times like these. Some of the changes to daily routines have happened suddenly and this might create a sudden change in mental health.
Not all youth will experience the same changes, so please use this only as a guide. If you feel that your child is having mental health issues, please contact his or her physician or mental health services. During this pandemic, many doctors and mental health facilities are seeing patients via tele-health. This is not a substitute for mental health diagnosis or treatment. This for information purposes only. Additional resources will be listed below
Five Things to Be Aware of in Your Child's Mental Health
Check in with people in your life frequently as well as those within your community. Pay attention to the following changes in your child, adults, and the elderly. Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live are ways to check-in while respecting social distancing.
Children will be somewhat withdrawn anyway since they are not spending time with their friends. If your child does not seem to want to participate in things that brought them joy just a few weeks ago this could be a red flag. Many youths are keeping in contact through apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, and others are having virtual conversations through gaming devices such as PlayStation and Xbox games.
2. Behavioral Changes
If your normally friendly, outgoing child suddenly argues about everything, he or she might be having issues with coping. Your child may not know how to cope with the changes and is melting down inside. Likewise, if the small things have become huge recently, this might also qualify for a similar change.
3. Appetite changes
Everyone jokes about the insatiable appetite of growing boys and girls, but if your child’s appetite is suddenly extremely high or low, this could be something to look out for. Now, many children experience appetite changes during growth spurts, so this may not be a red flag by itself, but it can indicate something could be amiss.
4. Excessive worry or fixation on problems
This pandemic is the source of worry for most of us, so worrying itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but fixation and excessive worrying may be a sign of anxiety-related issues. This pandemic has everyone on edge to some extent, and it is a good idea to make sure that your child understands what is happening and why. This is difficult for anyone to explain, but letting your child know that you are helping to protect the family can help you ease some fears. If your child doesn’t seem to be able to put these fears to rest or keeps bringing them up after you’ve talked to them, you may need to seek more help.
5. Changes in Sleeping Patterns
Teens have a reputation for sleeping excessively, but you know your own children. If your teen seems to be sleeping 20 hours a day despite low levels of activity, you could have a problem. This is not limited to twenty hours a day, though. If your teen is normally up at 6 am on Saturday but can’t seem to crawl out of bed until noon, and he or she is suddenly going to bed at 10 pm., this might be something to look into.