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May is mental health awareness month and it would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the mental well-being of our children.
Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Children’s Hospital Association declared a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health, and the Surgeon General issued an advisory on the urgency of addressing the children’ mental health crisis. Although these were done in response to the rise and widespread challenges that young teens and adolescents face as an aftermath of COVID-19, having a sharp focus on the mental well-being of students should always be a priority.
Children go through a lot during their developmental ages, especially during adolescence. Sometimes these changes can be hard to navigate. Add to those external circumstances like bullying, separation anxiety caused by moving schools or peer pressure in the wake of failure to perform can cause mental health challenges.
The COVID pandemic has only worsened the situation for children. They are now dealing with challenges caused by emotional distress of coping with loss of a relationship or connection, economic changes in the household, and most importantly missing social interaction with friends. Schools are presented with new challenges like shortages of teaching staff due to illness and/or resignations, and hence increase in class sizes. As a result of these changes, children experience the burden which impacts their mental health.
While the schools are engaged in providing social emotional skills and counseling help, managing children’s mental well-being starts at home. There is a lot that we can do as parents. We have narrowed it down to the following key principles. Watch the video where we talk about them in detail.
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