Young children are currently faced with a world full of anxiety, uncertainty, and, for some, even sickness or death. Their parents may be facing unemployment and financial struggles. They may not have enough to eat. The full extent of the long-term effects of living through the COVID-19 Pandemic on the mental and behavioral health of children is still unknown. However, many experts are concerned. With life as they once knew it suddenly taken from them, many children are struggling. Enduring virtual schooling, constant mask-wearing, frequent reminders to fear germs and stay away from others, and long-term isolation from friends and family, it’s no wonder many children are having a hard time. Experts are even starting to refer to the children alive during this Pandemic as “Gen C”, short for “Generation COVID”.
It is possible that the stress associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic could cause children to develop mental or behavioral health problems they didn’t have previously. It is also very likely that children who were already struggling with such problems saw those problems worsen when the added stress of the Pandemic took effect. Many parents are worried because they have seen their child’s grades slide, behavioral problems develop, and their child’s mental health symptoms worsen. It’s not surprising that a child suffering from anxiety for example would see their anxiety worsen during this time. What is unknown at this time is how well “Gen C” will bounce back. In some ways, the world will never be the same and we all are trying to adjust to that, including children. However, some experts fear that many children may never fully get over things like the fear of germs and other people or catch up academically after more than a year of remote learning. This doesn’t even take into account the children who may also develop physical health problems now and down-the-line as a result of contracting COVID-19. There is still so much we don’t know.
For children struggling with mental and behavioral problems – especially now – treatment is vital. Regular mental treatment, working with therapists and intervention specialists at school, and getting a child into special education if needed can help. If a child continues to struggle despite getting medical treatment and assistance at school, they may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. If you have questions about whether your child may be eligible for Social Security benefits, please call our office at 330-762-6474.