One thing that is becoming more vivid each day is that the pandemic impacted the lives of youths in ways that we are still trying to understand. This became even more evident when recent research showed that youth depression and anxiety have skyrocketed since the onset of COVID-19, with both at twice the level they were when the virus broke out.
Although doctors had been certain that most youths had a greater chance of defeating any COVID-19 infections, not much attention had been paid to how much impact the pandemic would have on their mental health. As a parent, hearing this news can be extremely troubling. Watching your child draw away from you due to depression and anxiety can be a cold experience and can easily shatter relationships.
Fortunately, anxiety and depression are not permanent. At Courageous Kids Counseling, we believe that children facing these issues can be treated through therapy, and we aim to provide the necessary tools and instruments that will help your child rise above any issues.
If you would like to learn more about how anxiety has affected youths during the pandemic, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our therapists have been treating children with anxiety and depression for several years and would love to answer any of your questions.
The Pandemic Disruptions, Youth Anxiety, and Depression
COVID-19 thoroughly altered the way that we had social interactions. While most adults found it quite easy to readjust, most youths struggled to deal with such an immense amount of change happening over days.
The meta-analysis, which had been conducted by JAMA Pediatrics concluded that 25.2% of young adults globally were struggling with depression, a figure that was only at 12.9% before the pandemic.
As a parent, this sharp rise in anxiety may be staggering, but it serves as evidence that many children around the world struggled to deal with the new conditions created by the pandemic. However, this should not be a surprise. The routine that most youths had become accustomed to was snatched away in an instant, forcing them to readjust to new experiences.
Most children also lost face-to-face contact with their peers during the pandemic. Naturally, this meant that all contact that they had with their friends had to be entirely digital, leading to more on-screen time. Yet, increased hours spent on mobile devices are already a known cause of anxiety and depression in young adults.
At Courageous Kids Counseling, we also believe that the amount of social isolation carried out by youths had a great impact on their mental health. You must remember, for many of these children, this would have been the first time spending an extensive number of days away from their parents. The fear of the loss of their loved ones would have likely led to a steep rise in their anxiety levels, and many of them may never have recovered.
According to the study, the combination of these disruptions and an intense lack of predictability in the day-to-day actions of young adults is mainly the reason for the rise in anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, there were not many alternatives or coping structures put in place to help the mental health of youths during this time.
If you believe that your child was affected by the disruptions during the pandemic or has been showing symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as extreme irritation, lack of sleep, or has spoken to you about feeling heavily unmotivated, then please book a free consultation with us at Courageous Kids Counseling.
The Pandemic and the Different Youth Groups
According to the research from JAMA, not all young adults were affected in the same way by the pandemic. In the case of gender, it was found that anxiety and depression levels of females spiked during COVID-19, though this should hardly be a surprise.
Young girls tend to have lower baseline self-esteem, which means that their stable self-worth tends to be lower. Naturally, those with a reduced sense of self-esteem can be greatly affected by terrible experiences or bad days. In the case of the pandemic, most female young adults would have had several poor days, leading to negative thoughts. Additionally, the lack of social contact may have also caused their self-esteem to nosedive.
The research also found that there were higher rates of depression among older children. However, this was largely attributed to hormonal changes and puberty. In addition to this, most older children would have already been familiar with arranging impactful social interactions with their peers by the time the pandemic started, unlike younger children.
Using Anxiety and Depression Treatment as a Solution
Unfortunately, the level of anxiety and depression among young adults had already been on the rise before the pandemic. COVID-19 simply exacerbated an issue that was already present and crippling healthcare systems and families around the globe.
Data collected by the CDC showed that the number of young adults who were planning a suicide attempt had grown by 44% in only a decade. However, this report was released in 2019, months before the first lockdown. This ensured that any work that was already being done to soothe the mental health of young adults was made futile, as the pandemic created such a huge setback in the space of a few years.
Yet, this does not mean that children have to remain in a state of anxiety and depression. At Courageous Kids Counseling, we believe that every child is redeemable with the right amount of care and guidance.
Our clinicians are experienced with treating children that are dealing with anxiety and depression issues, including those that have been affected by the pandemic.
During COVID-19, the fears and worries caused many children to begin to close off from their parents or their peers. We have also seen tons of children who started to feel hopeless through the pandemic, as their routine and social connections slowly fell away with each new disruption.
For many young adults, coming out of the pandemic feeling heavily motivated is going to be extremely difficult. While the reintroduction of constant routine through schoolwork and extracurricular activities may set them back on the right track, some youths may simply not be able to build back their motivation and self-esteem on their own.
Facing this as a parent can be tough, and you may have likely tried different ways to reintroduce that spark into your child’s life. If you have noticed that they have begun to constantly worry, or now panic about being in social situations, then this may be a strong indicator that they have become more anxious during the pandemic.
If this is the case, please contact us immediately, our therapists would love to help.
On the other hand, your child may also have become depressed during the pandemic. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on the world around them could easily have made them feel hopeless, especially as the virus continued to rage on.
They may no longer feel any joy from the things that they once loved, or they may have grown self-destructive due to the environment around them.
Depression in children is a tremendously terrible issue, as it is on the rise, and is often not far from suicidal thoughts. If you believe that your child has grown depressed during the pandemic or you fear that they are showing symptoms of depression, please call one of our phone lines or book a free consultation.
Our therapists use clinically proven methods to help children step out of depression and would love to offer a hand to you and your child.
How Do I Support My Child During the Pandemic?
In addition to visiting a clinician with strong experience in dealing with mental health issues in children, there are many things that you can do at home to help your child. Research published in the Neurobiology of Stress Journal showed that children belonging to families that introduced some sort of routine during the pandemic tended to show fewer signs of depression.
By introducing these routines, you can help provide balance and orientation at a time when everything may feel out of place for them. Depending on the age of your child, this may be basic or more extensive. You may try out a small exercise in the morning or a quick family game in the evenings.
We also suggest that you monitor other aspects of their lives to ensure that they remain healthy. While increased screen time may help them remain connected with their peers or friends, an excessive amount of time spent in the digital space may lead to adverse effects and could reduce their self-worth.