Back in March 2020 I remember thinking two weeks of lockdown will be great. We can get stuff done and really spend some family time together. There was an actual excitement over the lockdown. Now eleven months later it feels like it will never end. The lockdown has had a profound affect on people jobs, children’s education and maybe most importantly mental health.
We are social creators since the beginning of time. We actually needed to be in groups for survival. Our brains are still wired to be social. Not only are they wired that way but even in terms of development it is expected that a tween will begin to move from the family to their social groups. This is normal and necessary for development. During these times this has become incredibly challenging to do.
At this point in the cold winter there is little one can do outside and even the few things you can do most just aren’t motivated to do. We have hit a point were kids are not coming out of their rooms. They are depressed. They are struggling. They are filled with anxiety. They have no control over this and feel helpless. In my practice I have seen kids having zero motivation to do even basic things such as brushing their teeth because in their mind “whats the point?”. We have hit a new level of depression. Eleven months in they can no longer find joy, they can no longer find unique ways of seeing friends, and it all just seems to hard. When it seems to hard they just decide to not even try.
According to the CDC there was a 31% increase in emergency room mental health visits for adolescents. Recently the New York Times reported a school in Las Vegas is now trying to open schools quickly for in person learning after 18 students committed suicide.I wish as a therapist I could sit here and give a list of tips to help as I normally do in my posts but for this we just all need to hope spring comes fast. We need to hope that schools start realizing mental health is more of a risk than COVID to these kids and they need to find ways to open. To all the teachers who are working hard to try to engage these kids on zoom, thank you. To all the families reading this post, hang in there. Lets try to continue through this winter from a place of caring and understanding for what we are all going through. If you need help reach out.