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 led to many negative mental health impacts among children. During a recent virtual town hall hosted by the We Can Do This campaign, trusted doctors shared best practices on how parents can support their children’s mental health during the pandemic and beyond.

1.  Identify symptoms of mental illness

In recent years, children have been experiencing higher rates of anxiety and depression.

“There are a variety of ways that kids can present mental health issues – when we can’t function in school, when we’re not able to maintain friendships, when we’re no longer interacting with the family, and we just want to stay in our room,” said Dr. Samira Brown, pediatrician at Piedmont Healthcare in Georgia and a W Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute physician.

While children may not always understand why they feel certain feelings, it’s important to recognize and address the way children learn, behave, and handle 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 may feel uncomfortable, it builds a foundation of trust.

“Having those conversations with children when they are not happy is going to be one of the best conversations you can have,” said Dr. Byron Jasper, CEO of Byja Clinic in Louisiana and a W Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute physician. “When you do that early on, it gives them the platform to open up to negative feelings.”

Dr. Kendell Jasper, clinical psychologist at Jasper Psychological Services, noted that having conversations with children today when it comes to behavior and emotions may look different from how parents were raised growing up.

3.  Seek preventive care

Preventive care can reduce chances of serious mental illness. Reaching out to a pediatrician early will be key to accessing mental health resources.

“You don’t want to wait until it’s an emergency. Come to your pediatrician and get screened,” Dr. Brown shared. “It doesn’t mean your child is going to be on medicine. Getting those screenings is how we prevent mental health emergencies.”

4.  Get your child vaccinated if they are eligible

COVID-19 vaccines help to prevent infection, reduce the spread of the virus, and allow children to continue participating in activities, which helps to relieve mental health burdens. Children 5 years old and older are currently eligible to get vaccinated.

To find a vaccine site, search, 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 to increase public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing 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.

Dena Vang
[email protected]
(414) 644-0229

SOURCE We Can Do This Campaign

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