COVID-19 crisis on children’s mental health
This is indeed an unprecedented time for all of us, especially for children who face an enormous disruption to their lives. Children are likely to be experiencing worry, anxiety and fear, and this can include the types of fears that are very similar to those experienced by adults,such as a fear of dying, a fear of their relatives dying, or a fear of what it means to receive medical treatment. If schools have closed as part of necessary measures, then children may no longer have that sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment, and now they have less opportunity to be with their friends and get that social support that is essential for good mental well-being.
Being at home can place some children at increased risk of, or increased exposure to, child protection incidents or make them witness to interpersonal violence if their home is not a safe place. This is something that is very concerning. Although all children are perceptive to change, young children may find the changes that have taken place difficult to understand, and both young and older children may express irritability and anger. Children may find that they want to be closer to their parents, make more demands on them, and, in turn, some parents or caregivers may be under undue pressure themselves.
Simple strategies that can address this can include giving young people the love and attention that they need to resolve their fears, and being honest with children, explaining what is happening in a way that they can understand, even if they are young. Children are very perceptive and will model how to respond from their carers. Parents also need to be supported in managing their own stressors so that they can be models for their children. Helping children to find ways to express themselves through creative activities, and providing structure in the day – if that is possible – through establishing routines, particularly if they are not going to school anymore, can be beneficial.
Mental health and psychosocial support services should be in place, and child protection services need to adapt to ensure that the care is still available for the children of families who need it.
Article by Mohammed Khalid,
Debt Collector, Babylon Medical Services LLC