Mental-health expert sees increase in anxiety in kids – WOWT

Mental Health Expert Sees Increase In Anxiety In Kids Wowt
Mental Health Expert Sees Increase In Anxiety In Kids Wowt

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – This school year is bringing on a lot of extra worries for kids, from COVID-19 to making friends after a year of school online to bullying over mask-wearing.

After a year of dealing with a mix of zoom and in-person learning, kids are back in the classroom full time in a pandemic.

Stephanie Fritz has a daughter in elementary school.

“She’s very nervous to start. Her biggest thing is not being able to spend time with mama right now so we are making that transition,” Fritz said.

She’s not alone.

Jessica Jackson is a mental-health therapist with CHI Health. She said she’s noticing the number of kids with anxiety increasing, and the ages are all across the board — from elementary school to high school.

This year, she said, the concerns are different: “Are my friends going to remember me? Am I going to have the same friends? Did they forget about me? How do I make friends? What happens if I don’t fit into their group anymore?”

Jackson said she is seeing kids worried about the unknown when it comes to COVID-19. Students are worried they may have to juggle in-class learning with remote learning as cases continue to climb.

But Jackson says parents can help.

“Obviously, there might be changes; and so it’s being able to adapt to that and help them recognize that even though it’s going back and forth, just do the best they can do,” she said.

Parents may have some of the same worries, too, but it’s all about communication.

“My biggest worry is just making sure she is comfortable and happy and getting through the day,” Fritz said.

Experts also say bullying on social media is a major concern. They recommend talking to your kids and helping them through that. They say if you start to notice your child becoming distant, it may be time to seek professional help.

Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.