PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) –
The Pandemic was a difficult time for most people, having to adjust to no or limited contact with others, but what impact has the pandemic had on children? In our continuing series, A Sound Mind, Brian Bouchard looks at how social distancing may have affected their social skills.
“The Pandemic taught us a lot, it was a very difficult thing to get through, we’re still going through it to a degree.”
Amy Deprey, Administrative Manager of Children’s Behavioral Health for AMHC says the pandemic highlighted unmet needs in children’s behavioral health.
“When we eliminated kids attending school everyday we saw that there’s a lot of unmet needs in the community that were being met through children attending school so it forced us to look at different things. We had to access a lot of food resources, we had to access more crisis services actually because kids were not having an opportunity to have conversations with other adults. So I do think that the need has grown through the pandemic, we certainly are getting a lot of calls from parents, from teachers asking for support.”
“In my own world I have a special vantage point of, I have a daughter who is a pre-teen and she can absolutely remember what life was like before the pandemic.”
Sarah Wright, Program Director of Crisis Services says anxiety in children from having to adjust during the pandemic is likely.
“I also have a son who was in kindergarden when the pandemic started and he doesn’t remember going to school without a mask, he doesn’t remember going to school without the desks 6 feet apart. So life, as we come out of pandemic restrictions looks very strange to him. I think we’ll see a huge increase in anxiety in kiddos, Who don’t remember what pre-pandemic life was like”
“I think that through Covid kids became very, very comfortable with not going to school and doing everything remotely. And kids who were already struggling with anxiety related to being in school, that has manifested for sure. So we’re really working with a number of kids who are really struggling with just getting through the door, we have a lot of kids who are struggling with truancy, our local school districts are being very, very supportive and very creative around trying to meet these kiddos needs but it’s very real and it was present before covid, its now exacerbated because of covid.” says Deprey.
Both Deprey and Wright say that though they are seeing more anxiety in children, it may take years to determine the full impact the pandemic has had on kids. She says talking with your children and having open discussions may ease some of their fears or anxiety about returning to school in the fall.
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
Copyright 2022 WAGM. All rights reserved.