The toll that COVID is taking on our kids. So many children are doing virtual school and having their extracurricular activities, church gatherings, social lives etc. come to a standstill. There is no wonder that the heavy burden of COVID-19 is really affecting the young people in our lives. Their mental health is suffering, and it has become evident especially in teens and pre-teens.
The Toll that COVID is Taking on Our Kids
At Waters Edge Counseling, we have personally witnessed the effect this is having on our children. Even schools that are “in person” are having to quarantine certain students who then have to attend virtually. With everyone else in their classes being there in person, these quarantined students feel extremely isolated. Even though their teachers have done a great job in trying to include them. The teachers have the added stress of not only teaching their in-person classes, but also trying to make our children feel like a part of things via Zoom. And it’s just underlining the fact that they are not with their peers. That’s devastating for adolescents.
So many schools in America are totally virtual right now. The stress on parents can also not be overstated. Making sure they are “in” class. Keeping up with assignments. Completing homework. It’s beyond challenging trying to make sure these kids don’t fall behind. But not just that – the toll that COVID is taking on our kids’ mental health is staggering.
Teen Suicide in the News
This article from the NY Times really grabbed my attention. This quote, in particular, is extremely concerning:
“The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation’s fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students even as greater Las Vegas continues to post huge numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.”
Waters Edge Counseling does not do political statements. This is definitely out of our wheelhouse. But it’s very obvious that the lack of interaction our children are having with one another is making an impact. In Clark County, Nevada, alone – the number of pre-teens and teens that committed suicide between March and December of 2020 rose to a shocking 18.
We definitely don’t think this issue is specific to Nevada. In a GPB article from November 2020, clinical education manager for Hillside in Atlanta, Gaan Akers, said, “Our phones never stop ringing. We work with kids who are really struggling.”
She continued, “Most of the kids, by the time they get into residential treatment, have had multiple suicide attempts.”
So What Can We Do to Prevent Teen Suicide?
Once parents notice signs of depression or suicidal behavior, they need to acknowledge it, and be sure that their children don’t have any means to carry out any kind of plan.
“That’s one of the ways in which we prevent suicide,” Akers said, “because when a person is depressed, having to go through a lot of effort to kill themselves is really hard.”
This is a difficult time for us all, but our therapists can help. The Waters Edge Counseling team is committed to the mental health of our adolescents. We have counselors who specialize in the mental well-being of younger patients, and to that extent – their parents and families.
We Are Here to Help
Please reach out to us if you are finding this time to be overwhelming. We, too, have children, and we are seeing the effects as well. We have a new Online Scheduling tool, and we make finding the right therapist for you a priority. Please contact us – we are looking forward to hearing from you.
Individuals in need of crisis management, who exhibit signs of suicide, or identify signs of suicide in others, can call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) at 1-800-715-4225. All calls are free and confidential. Alternatively, please visit www.mygcal.com for assistance.
The national suicide prevention hotline number is 800-273-8255.