Tips to help parents support children’s mental health during the pandemic and beyond
MILWAUKEE, May 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The ongoing stress, fear and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many negative mental health effects for children. At a recent virtual town hall hosted by the We can do it campaign, trusted doctors shared best practices on how parents can support their children’s mental health during the pandemic and beyond.
1. Identifying Symptoms of Mental Illness
In recent years, children have experienced higher rates of anxiety and depression.
“There are a variety of ways children can present with mental health issues – when we can’t function in school, when we can’t maintain friendships, when we no longer interact with family. , and we just want to stay in our room,” said Dr. Samira Brownpediatrician at Piedmont Healthcare in Georgia and a physician from W Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute.
Although children may not always understand why they feel certain feelings, it is important to recognize and address how children learn, behave and manage their emotions.
2. Talk to your child about their feelings
Parents are the first to teach children how to manage their emotions. Although having conversations about emotional topics can be uncomfortable, it builds a foundation of trust.
“Having these conversations with kids when they’re not happy is going to be one of the best conversations you can have,” said Dr. Byron JasperCEO of Byja Clinic at Louisiana and a physician from W Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute. “When you do it early, it gives them the platform to open up to negative feelings.”
dr. Kendell Jasperclinical psychologist at Jasper Psychological Services, noted that having conversations with children today regarding behavior and emotions may feel different from how parents were raised growing up.
3. Seek preventive care
Preventive care can reduce the risk of serious mental illness. Communicating with a pediatrician early will be key to accessing mental health resources.
“You don’t want to wait until there’s an emergency. Come to your pediatrician and get tested,” Dr. Brown explained. “It doesn’t mean your child is going to be on medication. Getting those screenings is how we prevent mental health emergencies.”
4. Have your child vaccinated if eligible
Vaccines for COVID-19 help prevent infection, reduce the spread of the virus, and keep children engaged in activities, which helps ease the mental health burden. Children 5 years and older can currently get vaccinated.
To find a vaccination site, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233.
About the We Can Do This campaign
The HHS COVID-19 Public Education Campaign is a national initiative aimed at increasing public confidence in COVID-19 vaccines while strengthening basic prevention measures. The campaign is also associated with the Stay Well Health Fair and Vaccine events, which are designed to bring health resources to Black communities across the country.
SOURCE We can do this campaign