There’s no denying that coronavirus has impacted everyone around the world, in one way or another. However, children have been hit hardest. Particularly those who already faced challenges in their life to deal with. Whether that be coming from a low income family, being a carer or living with an underlying condition. The rise in mental health challenges in children is extremely concerning and something that we all need to help to change and support.
As restrictions start to ease, what does the new normal look like and what are the challenges young people now face?
School closures have meant that many children now feel disconnected and isolated. They no longer have those stable personal connections or support groups outside of the home. This has a huge negative consequence on a child’s ability to open up, especially if they don’t feel comfortable to talk to their family. Keeping emotions bottled up, has led to a rise in anxiety and fear.
Increased mental health challenges
There has been a sharp rise in children developing mental health challenges. Anxiety, fear and stress are all concerns that have come out of the most recent lockdown.
67% of young people aged between 13-25 believed that the pandemic would have a long term negative effect on their mental health. (Young Minds)
Pressure on family relationships
A stable home life is important. However, with many parents having lost their jobs, increased financial pressures or a breakdown in relationships, can cause a huge strain on a child. Conflict arises in the home due to the stressful situation and a child can often be the one caught in the middle. The lockdows have meant that children have had no escape or respite from conflict in the home.
Increased exposure to harm
The recent lockdowns have meant that children are inside more. Which means, longer time is spent online, making them more susceptible to risk and abuse. Especially when not done safely.
Risks to physical wellbeing
Children have spent more time inside than ever. With no access to sporting activities and a lack of exercise outdoors, children’s physical wellbeing is at risk. However, it’s also their nutrition. With child poverty on the rise, kids are going hungry and not getting the nutrients they need.
Concern for the future
Young people are concerned for the future. Whether it’s educational transitions, loss of jobs or risk to their health or their families health.
79% of young people ages 13 to 25 said their mental health would start to improve when most restrictions are lifted. (Young Minds)
However, they also expressed caution about restrictions being lifted too quickly and the prospect of future lockdowns
Now is the time to act.
With schools opening up and we venture into a new normal after the coronavirus pandemic, children’s mental health needs to come first. They have already missed out and lost so much. Whether that be their physical, mental or emotional health, coronavirus has had a huge impact on all children.
If you’re looking to help change children’s mental health and wellbeing, get in touch with me: