Pandemic Increases Children’s Mental Health Challenges

young child head on kneesLack of social activities, huge changes in the schooling environment, limited sports and clubs, and not being able to hang out with friends are intensifying children’s mental health challenges. Many families are under a great deal of stress with the current pandemic.

But steps can be taken to create a safer environment. If you notice your child is struggling with their mental health, contact your pediatrician to discuss these concerns. As an extra precaution, remove or secure the items below in an effort to reduce youth access to potentially dangerous items within the home.

Firearms

The safest option is to store guns away from home:

  • With a trusted friend or relative
  • At a storage facility
  • At a shooting range

The second best option is to securely store firearms in the home:

  • In a lockbox or firearm safe
  • With a cable lock or gunlock
  • With the firearm and ammunition stored and locked separately

Medications

  • Remove and safely dispose of any unneeded medications in the home.
  • If any prescription and over-the-counter medications need to remain in the home, secure them in a lockbox.

Additionally, children should be supervised when depressed or not feeling safe. If parents are concerned about a child’s mental health but believe they are safe, call the pediatrician to ask for guidance. If there’s any safety concern, parents should call mobile crisis teams or suicide hotlines.

  • Worcester: 866-549-2142
  • Leominster: 800-977-5555

In this video, Brian Skehan, MD, PhD, psychiatry, explains the importance of checking in on how kids are feeling as he sees the numbers of patient visits skyrocket.

Additional Resources:

  • Parent Stress Line: 800-632-8188
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255); Military veterans and their loved ones should press “1” for the Veterans Crisis Line
  • Trevor Lifeline (for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth and young adults): 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386).
  • Samaritans Statewide Hotline: 877-870-HOPE (4673)

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