Children struggling with mental health as pandemic continues

Coronavirus

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — As coronavirus cases across the country continue to rise, health experts say they’re also seeing a rise in issues related to mental health, especially among adolescents.

According to health officials, there’s been a 40% increase in anxiety-related calls to mental health helplines, as well as a 31% increase in depression-related calls.

When schools closed in March 2020, experts say they saw teens reaching out for help like never before.

The pandemic has taken an unthinkable toll on children — socially, emotionally, and even academically — causing depression, anxiety, isolation issues, and feelings of hopelessness.

“For kids, their whole job is learning that socialization and learning to navigate the world and school is the only place that they can do that without adults or the parents, specifically,” said Nikki Kontz, Teen Lifeline Clinical Director.

In addition, emergency rooms saw an increase in mental health-related visits involving children since the start of the pandemic, as well as an increase in texts and phone calls to mental health phone lines.

According to the Crisis Response Network, they have seen 19 to 20,000 calls per month.

Signs of distress in children

  • Mood swings
  • Changes in behavior
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Changes in weight, sleep schedules, or memory

If you see any of these signs, experts encourage you to talk to your child about their feelings and notify your child’s doctor.

You can also reach out to the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK.

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