PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The pandemic may have passed, but the damage to children’s mental health remains.
Doctors say that children of all ages are struggling with mental health issues, made worse during the isolating pandemic.
Dr. Lisa Denike, Chief of Pediatrics of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, says with kids socially isolated for a year or more, it’s still not easy to get back to normal.
“I am seeing a lot of younger children who are having a lot of anxiety-type symptoms, feeling nervous about being in school. I’m seeing teenagers who really are struggling getting back amongst their peers,” Denike said.
Denike says children are still struggling to socialize with each other and express themselves face-to-face, rather through a phone or computer screen. Additional social media pressures continue to mount as well according to Denike.
There’s been an increase in fighting, kids showing anxiety and depression, and it’s why pediatricians are asking parents or other adults close to kids to reach out and engage one-on-one with kids from elementary to high school age and beyond.
“It’s important to connect with our kids,” Denike said. “Have some time one-on-one with them. It doesn’t have to be an hour each day.”
Denike also says to avoid questions with yes or no answers, and that it’s sometimes easier having that conversation while driving in the car together.