TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — COVID’s not just hard on a body—the pandemic can be hard on the mind even if you never actually catch the virus. The fear and uncertainty of a pandemic can be especially hard on your children.
Since COVID hit, researchers have been seeing rates of anxiety and depression doubling in children aged 12 to 17.
“I've been seeing a number of kids younger than that, starting about six or so,” says Lakilia Ahmed.
Ahmed is a licensed clinical social worker and mental health counselor. Doctors at Tanque Verde Pediatrics asked her to start seeing some of their patients when they saw how the pandemic was weighing down on parents and kids.
“And some of the issues that they present with is anxiety and depression you know, anxiety, worries about health, their parents' health, being isolated, not having the regular school year.”
She says the sort of discord about COVID that’s torn into adult relationships can tear into children's lives too.
“Most parents are pretty stuck in their ways. And so some are for the vaccine and for the masking and for, you know, six feet away and all of this and some are not so when you have children who are children of divorced parents who have different views. That can be hard and pretty stressful for them as well.”
Ahmed says she works with children and parents. She urges parents to recognize psychological stress in their children and not assume it's a passing problem that will blow over without professional treatment.
“If we had a broken leg, we wouldn't ask the person to, you know, hop it off. You know, we would want them to have treatment and have support so that they can heal. And so we have to do the same thing with our mental health.”