TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Behavioral health officials say they are seeing a large increase in adolescent patients due to the pandemic and remote learning.
Doctors are even starting to look at what will be the short-term and long-term effects on our children.
“Our nervous systems are on high alert and we’re all jumpy and edgy, and it’s because of the unknown,” said Dr. Chad Mosher with Palo Verde Behavioral Health. "We’ve seen a big increase in people needing our hospitalization and our partial programs and our outpatient program. Not just for the socialization, but to understand what is going on with their emotions.”
With the pandemic appearing to be far from over, and more schools going remote, it has doctors like Mosher looking at long-term effects.
“We don’t know how this is going to affect their attention long-term, their focus- we’re not quite sure what they’re able to retain.”
He says those with pre-existing anxiety may favor the home learning environment, while those who value social interaction are hurting.
“For some of the youth, this is a great modality. For the other half of the youth, it is a terrible way to learn. Some of them really need that 1 on 1 input and accountability," said Mosher.
Dr. Mosher said whether they should go back in person or not is a really difficult choice. So in the meantime, he suggests parents keep tabs on how their children are handling the transition back to remote learning.
- Look out for little behavioral changes like isolation or change in appetite.
“Look for isolation, look for more than usual isolation, look for increased irritability, look for acting out in a way that is unusual even if they’re a person who acts out normally. Also looking out for any of that social withdraw, locking in the room, staying in the room, not coming to eat, watching eating patterns," said Mosher. "Some will overeat, some will under eat, just normalizing family routines with eating, slowing down enough to make sure the children in your family are eating.”
He also stresses the importance of getting your kids to be active, listen to music, and use their creativity.
"Trying to normalize activity as much as possible because the stress levels can be so high, some youth will really start pulling away.”
And remember, seek help if it’s needed, and continue to support one another.
"We get through this collectively and together, and that also helps improve our own happiness- if you will, our own mental health.”
Take things week by week instead of trying to digest everything that’s going on as a whole.
He said it will break things down into manageable parts and help with stress levels.
For more resources you can visit: https://paloverdebh.com/programs-services/adolescents-12-17/