Supporting children and young people with Covid-19 related anxiety
Unfortunately, the implications of Covid-19 have had a significant effect on the emotional and mental health of many and caused a rise in anxiety in young people.
What is making young people feel anxious?
Pressure to perform:
The consequences of having 6 months off school has left many young people feeling anxious about workload, results and their future. Some young people are also experiencing fatigue since returning to full school days and are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of learning they need to catch up on.
Many young people have struggled adapting to a new way of socializing. Young people have had to form socially distanced relationships and friendships within their ‘bubbles’. This has meant establishing different ways of interacting and changes to their normal social groups.
Changes to routine:
Most children have had their sense of structure and routine broken. Routine provides boundaries and helps people to feel safe. When a young person’s routine is broken, this can lead to feelings of anxiety.
How to recognize if your child is struggling with anxiety
There are many different behaviours associated with anxiety. Some of these may include:
- Difficulty with focus or concentration
- Changes to sleeping and eating patterns
- Many worries
- Becoming fidgety or displaying other somatic responses
- Regularly crying
- Struggling to regulate
- Complaining of feeling unwell
- Displaying repetitive behaviours
- Retreating from social situations
How can you help your young person to manage their anxiety?
There are many things you can do to help your young person to understand and manage their anxiety. Talking together about their anxiety is a great place to start as it can help the young person to understand and process the thoughts and feelings they are experiencing.
Finding activities that helps your young person to regulate can be really helpful. This may include physical activity such as a walk or exercise, sensory input such as art making or cooking or incorporating relaxation techniques such as practicing mindfulness or breathing exercises.
Creating a ‘worry box’ is helpful for some young people as it provides a space where the young person can write down their worries and allow them to be ‘held’. For many young people, anxiety can become apparent when it feels like there is too much to manage or they are experiencing a sense of overwhelm. Having a holding space can help to lighten the load.
When to seek professional help
If you are becoming increasingly worried about your young person, you may wish to contact your GP. They may recommend a referral to CAMHS or suggest emotional support or psychotherapy. If your young person is comfortable with you doing so, you may also wish to get in touch with school or college to make them aware of any difficulties that are affecting their school life and they may be able to support the young person further.
If you have a child or young person struggling with anxiety and you feel they may need emotional support or psychotherapy services, please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss our face to face therapy services for children and young people in Sheffield or any of our online therapy services.