Not every child has a parent they can turn to. Nor do they have any other adults in their lives to support and look after them. Mental health issues are taking a toll on children. Especially in times like these, when destruction prevails in every corner eyes can reach, it becomes essential to look after what children are going through.
Pandemic Affecting School-Going Children’s Mental Health
This generation that has to spend most of the time online-schooling and indoors is being affected to a great extent. Experts say that going through a year in isolation, suffering financially, and losing classroom time, children are being pushed back emotionally, socially, and academically. This can affect their physical and mental health, leaving years or decades worth of damage. Some kids may walk out of it fine, but not everyone will be that lucky, and they’ll be affected for major parts of their lives.
The pandemic has caused a huge academic gap. Many students would consider dropping out, many have been left behind in their online year’s curriculum. This will also affect their careers. A report produced by McKinsey and Company says that an average US school-going kid has lost over five to nine months of learning.
Many children depend on their food intake in schools. Between March and May, students lost over 1.1 billion free meals that their schools would have been provided.
The executive director of Suicide Prevention in Colorado said earlier that a factor that can prevent youth from committing suicide, was to have one adult in their lives they can completely put their faith in and turn to. It is likely that not all kids will have a healthy parental relationship. If not parents, this role can be filled by neighbors or school coaches. It is important to check on young people, or just smile or make them feel good even just for a second.
A suicide prevention strategies manager, Lena Heilmann said that it becomes important for adults to connect with children and validate their opinions and feelings. They should strive to build an affirming, positive and validating relationship.
Talking about one’s problems is cathartic. If the youth is asked more to open up and talk their troubles out, a huge number of suicides can be prevented. Experts agree that conversations regarding mental health are one of the most essential things a parent can do to ease a child’s pain. It is important to not be afraid of asking a child if the idea of committing suicide has ever crossed their mind. When parents recognize a shift of mood in their children, it is advisable to have a talk with them.
Sleep is a healer. Keeping a routine and checking up their sleep schedules can help. Heilmann talked about sleep being a protector against suicide. Young people need sleep. A survey, Healthy Kids Colorado, that was carried out in 2019 concluded that a major part of youth is sleep deprived. Many students are juggling to find a balance between their online classes and home.
The executive director of Second Wind Fund, Chris Weiss, an organization that tries to make mental health care more and more accessible, talked about the importance of building a routine and staying active in a way that allows full expression and consistency, and also keeps their troubles in check.
Times are tough. We need to look out for each other. There may be cases where talking, sleeping or any other tactics would not work. The kid is way too ahead consumed in issues. When you know someone struggling with this, you can call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [800-273-TALK (8255)].
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