JUCM News has featured data on increases in depression and anxiety among adults over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as alarming news about burnout among healthcare providers. Lost in the discussion up to this point has been relevant clinical literature about how children are faring—which is to say, not good, according to a new article published by JAMA Pediatrics. Even before the pandemic took hold in 2019, the piece points out, nearly 25% of girls and over 10% of boys said they had considered suicide. Since then, incidence of both anxiety and depression have doubled, now affecting one out of five children and one out of four children, respectively. One challenge is that kids, especially the younger they are, might not have the emotional wherewithal to realize, never mind express, complex feelings. So, parents and clinicians are not likely to hear a child complain about feeling blue or anxious, even if they ask directly. Instead, family members may notice a child withdrawing, losing interest in friends and favorite activities, having trouble with concentration, or difficulty sleeping. Consider checking in with mom or dad to see if they’ve noticed any such changes, especially if there’s been illness in the family. And be prepared to offer a referral to a trusted mental health resource in the area.
Reminder: Kids Aren’t Immune to Pandemic-Related Depression and Anxiety