Child anxiety increasing due to pandemic, Hattiesburg Clinic officials say
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Mental health often comes with a stigma because it can’t always be seen, such as a broken arm or leg. That doesn’t mean it’s not equally as crucial to a person’s overall health.
“Mental health is important, and is just as important as physical health...,” said Krystal Draughn, LCSW, Hattiesburg Clinic Psychology & Counseling.
For some, it may be harder to see, but that’s not the case at Hattiesburg Clinic Psychology and Counseling.
Mental health experts there say they’ve seen a dramatic increase in patients since the pandemic began.
“We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of people coming to see us, and there’s a long waiting list for people to come to see us and I think that’s the standard not just in our community but, you know, around the nation... that’s pretty much the standard,” said Draughn.
While mental health doesn’t discriminate based on age, we’re told children seem to be struggling now more than ever.
The lack of consistency throughout the past couple of years may be taking a toll on them.
“A lot of attachment issues, especially with little ones that have had to go back to school after they’ve been at home and spent so much time with their caregivers,” said Blythe McCance, LPC, Hattiesburg Clinic Psychology & Counseling.
While these feelings can be extremely difficult to navigate, there are some signs to look for that may indicate a child is struggling.
“Stomachaches, headaches, sometimes it can manifest physically and then sometimes ... anxiety can even manifest in like defiance and aggressive behaviors (such as) lying, not wanting to follow the rules, things like that,” said Draughn.
According to counselors, one way to help kids who are struggling is to listen more and talk less.
“...Listening is a big part of the communication process ...,” said Draughn.
Hattiesburg Clinic says it’s important to make note of any significant change in behavior as it could be a sign a child needs help.
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