May is Mental Health Month and with many sources reporting an increase in mental health disorders due to the coronavirus pandemic, now is a great time to do our part to raise awareness for a topic that is making headlines around the world. In a column for Lawrence Executive Alliance of Professionals (LEAP) LLC (check it out here), we discussed the ways that you can work toward keeping your mental health in check as we continue to face uncertainties across the country and around the world.
There is no explanation needed as to why the mental health of both adults and youth have been on the decline. Life as we know it came to an abrupt halt in February when health experts and national leaders confirmed those first few positive cases of COVID-19. Since that time, businesses have been forced to shut their doors, schools have closed, travel restrictions were enacted and stay-at-home orders were adopted globally. Most of us have never experienced this type of situation in our lifetime and probably never will again. It’s been hard to cope.
And as we continue to find our way through these unfamiliar times and work to battle the spread of the coronavirus, in the background of it all is another pandemic that is often silent. The mental health of our youth has been incredibly affected. They’re missing the social interaction that is so very important for development. Their sleep habits have been disrupted. They may be experiencing fear and anxiety. Their education has changed. The list goes on and on. But you can help. It is our responsibility as parents, caregivers, mentors, teachers and friends to guide these young folks down a positive path of overall health and wellness. It starts with recognizing the signs of mental illness, like depression and anxiety.
Is the youth in your life:
Experiencing changes in mood, behavior or personality?
Complaining of frequent headaches or stomach troubles?
Showing signs of persistent sadness?
Talking about or asking questions about death?
Extremely irritable or finding it difficult to manage anger?
Demonstrating a change in eating habits?
Having difficulty sleeping?
Showing signs of hurting oneself?
Avoiding interactions with others?
Reach out to a healthcare professional today to discuss the best course of action for your child If you have any concerns about the above behavior. It is important to have open and honest conversations with your young person, but to do so in a way that shows support and encouragement for better days ahead.