Lockdown has bought up a mixture of emotions for us all. Here are some tips to carry us through the lockdown.
Since the first lockdown in March 2020 children & young people (CYP) have had to experience something out of the ordinary, just like adults. This shows that CYP mental health needs to be monitored and taken care of just the same as adults. CYP have adapted to the new changes that the government has put in place, however levels of anxiety and depression has increased. Statistics have shown that rates of likely mental disorders have increased since 2017. In 2020, 16.0% children aged 5 to 16 years were identified as having a probable mental disorder, increasing from 10.8% in 2017. The increase was evident in both boys and girls. This is a significant increase, parents and professionals now have a duty to support CYP to manage and monitor their mental health. Statistics have shown that over 64% of CPY do not get the support they need and result in having suicidal thoughts.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental conditions CYP experience. Anxiety is typically described as an emotion that is triggered from feeling quite tense, scared or worried about something. This can cause restlessness, feeling on-edge, trouble sleeping or lack concentration, avoiding or withdrawing yourself from situations and having a loss of appetite. Symptoms can manifest in different ways as we are all different.
The best way to manage these feelings is firstly to acknowledge it is present. Depending on how your child communicates drawing can be a great tool to get them to express how they feel. If they are able to express themselves through conversation then that should be encouraged. Once you have an understanding of how they feel, you can direct them to someone within the profession of mental health care such as a counsellor to seek guidance to work with your child to overcome or manage these emotions.
1. Daily exercise - I want to encourage you to go out for daily exercise and fresh air. This is very beneficial as it helps to regain focus and switch off from things that are taking place at home, such as working from home. Most importantly it helps to maintain a good healthy lifestyle.
2. Create a routine - Creating some kind of structure always helps with time management and completing tasks. It’s great that children are able to attend school during this lockdown. This will help take some pressure away from you as parents to manage working/studying from home and looking after children.
3. Check in - Setting some time aside to bond and check in with your children to see how things are is a great way to build trust and for your child to have confidence to share any concerns or worries. Ways in which this can be built is through activities such as cooking together, painting or drawing together, watching a tv show/movie and discussing the moral of the story.
4. Make the most of each weekend - As the weeks fly by really enjoy the weekends with your children, fun activities such as making slime, going to the park and playing football or movie days, can really change the atmosphere and bring joy. If possible, I encourage parents to try to have a ‘Me day’ to look after your own mental health.
5. Remain positive! - My final point would be to remain positive throughout this period. I understand that many maybe under strains for many different reasons but try and find the positive in each situation. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Please feel free to contact us here at Tea of Therapy to ask any questions. If you would like to get in contact with mental health professions such as counsellors and therapist, you can use one of our partnering directories.