Isolating their children at home during the COVID-19 outbreak has caused concern for many parents. While remaining home, social distancing, masking, canceling events, and limiting in-person school were all critical to saving lives and halting the spread of COVID-19, the truth is that these adjustments in routine are deeply emotionally taxing for many children (and adults). In this article, you will learn more about the child depression symptoms during Covid-19.
Some Important Information
While taking these measures ensured our physical safety during the epidemic, it was naturally difficult to adjust to life in crisis and quarantine. Researchers, medical professionals, and parents are worried about the long-term effects of quarantine on children’s mental health and the increased risk of depression this may cause.
Several studies conducted at the time of the pandemic indicated that many children who were quarantined experienced negative emotions such as fear, loneliness, anxiety, clinginess, depression, and even suicidal thoughts.
In this article, we’ll talk about the warning signs of depression in kids, how the pandemic might change the way symptoms manifest, and what you can do to assist your kid deal with or avoiding developing depression (and other mental health issues).
In the United States alone, the coronavirus pandemic had killed over a million people by the end of June 2022, and it had infected many more. Furthermore, it impacted our daily life by closing schools and businesses and causing widespread economic damage. Epidemics of COVID-19 keep happening again and over again.
Less discussed is the toll this ongoing global crisis has taken on children’s mental health, especially the uptick in cases of childhood depression. A growing chorus of medical professionals, academics, teachers, parents, and public servants are, however, calling for a reorientation of resources toward ensuring children thrive.
It’s not easy to assess the benefits and drawbacks of reopening schools, but many experts in children’s health and academic researchers are pushing for classes to resume (at least some of the time) so that our country’s youth can get the structure normalcy, support, and hope they need and so that academic learning doesn’t suffer.
Researchers concluded that prolonged quarantine poses mental health hazards for children and that these effects may be seen in 10 days, based on their study of the symptoms of depression in children who were isolated at home. Studies in China reveal that as many as 35% of children subjected to quarantine experience significant psychological effects.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 8% to 10% of adolescents and 3% of youngsters were affected by depression prior to this global catastrophe (AAP). Scientists think that these rates are rising currently and that having this experience is associated with a greater likelihood of developing depression in the future.
Studies have shown that childhood trauma is a strong indicator of future mental health problems in adults. The AAP reports that about 75% of depressed teenagers go undiagnosed, highlighting the significance for parents to be aware of and alert for the symptoms of adolescent depression.
The Symptoms and Signs of Depression in Children
Compared to how depression manifests in adults, depression in early children and adolescents often presents itself in a novel way in early children and adolescents. Children may experience this disorder in distinctive and often concealed ways that lead to underdiagnosis. Yes, the telltale melancholy or sad mood, loss of energy and excitement for hobbies and life in general, dysphoria (emotional discomfort), and weariness may be present.
It’s difficult to diagnose a child or adolescent and provide them with the help they need if they don’t open up about their emotions. Remember that depression (and associated and comorbid mental health issues like anxiety) can manifest in various ways and ages of children, with each experiencing their unique set of signs and symptoms that may also evolve over time.
A child’s depression may show itself through any number of signs and symptoms, including:
- Aggression and/or anger.
- A lack of interest in or motivation for school, typically accompanied by worsening academic performance.
- Modifications in conduct.
- Having a grumble about feeling sick, whether it’s a stomachache, a headache, or something more generalized.
- Lessening of active pursuits.
- Reduced or increased hunger, potentially leading to either weight gain or decrease.
- Studies suggest that defiance and antagonism can be a child’s way of communicating anxiety.
- Problems with focus and/or managing your time effectively.
- Problems getting to sleep, keeping asleep, and/or getting the right amount of sleep.
- Frustrated and exhausted.
- Sad or despondent.
- Sadness and despair.
- Emotions of remorse or shame.
- Lacking confidence and/or low self-esteem.
- Decreased enthusiasm for formerly enjoyable pursuits.
- Leaving home without permission or saying you’re going to.
- Isolation from one’s loved ones.
- Behaviors such as contemplating suicide, broaching the subject of death, self-injury, and/or the disposal of personal property.
A qualified counselor is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (dial 988) if your child is having suicidal thoughts. Make the call to emergency services if you or a loved one is in urgent danger.
A youngster suffering from depression is not always going to show every symptom on this list. They may also present in their own unique way. If your child is having difficulty, it’s important to keep an eye out for any small changes.
Additionally, if your child has lost a loved one or friend as a result of the epidemic, you should pay close attention to how they are doing emotionally. Pay special attention if your loved ones are going through any of these other traumatic experiences: food insecurity, job loss, moving, relocating, or divorce.
There is an increased risk of depression in children who have special needs, have a family history of mental illness, live in historically marginalized communities, who are economically disadvantaged, or are isolated owing to an infectious disease or fear of contracting one.
Identifying depressive symptoms in children during quarantine is complicated by the fact that the very act of enduring a pandemic creates conditions that are similar to, or even worse than, those associated with depression. The terrible impacts of this global health catastrophe also place everyone in a state of constant worry.
Many children’s lives have been uprooted; as a result, they have had less opportunity to interact with their peers and engage in physical activity. Some kids have to deal with the stress of worrying about getting sick or losing a loved one. They could not have a stable home environment because one or both of their parents were out of work. Furthermore, most children were isolated from their peers due to health orders issued at the height of the pandemic.
It’s hardly surprising that a lot of kids felt (still feel) lonely and down. Separating harmful from good coping strategies is challenging. Unfortunately, there is reason to be concerned, as the epidemic is the primary contributing factor in the development of depression in many youngsters.
Some of the mental health effects of the pandemic are shared by the community since many people can identify with and comprehend the factors that contribute to depression during the outbreak. Those who are clinically depressed, however, still require assistance in order to recover, and it’s highly improbable that their depression will vanish once the crisis has passed.
It’s impossible to imagine the best way to prevent your child from developing depression in the face of a pandemic when so much is beyond our control and so little is known about the mental health cost of living. However, being present and understanding your child’s emotions and needs is the finest thing you can do for them.
However, just as with any mental health illness, there is no foolproof way to prevent your child from developing depression, and if they do, it is no one’s responsibility. Instead of beating yourself up over it, be there for each other and be supportive and understanding while you assist them to find solutions.