Last updated: May 26, 2022
Hi, I’m Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the health officer for Anne Arundel County. Welcome to our Weekly Health Update. The COVID vaccines, masks, at home testing, and treatment are how you can continue to protect you and your loved ones from COVID. Today, let’s talk about mental health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it’s the ideal time to talk about the impact COVID has had on our mental health. More people, both adults and youth, experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. These rates are decreasing, but we’re still not back to where we were before the pandemic. There are different reasons for the mental health effects of COVID: fear of COVID, illness, loss of family, isolation, loss of sense of safety, loss of income, and others.
Let’s talk about what we can do to address youth mental health.
First, be aware of signs that your child may need help. Some signs include:
- Decline in school performance
- Poor grades despite strong efforts
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
- Hyperactivity or fidgeting
- Depression, sadness or irritability
If your child is having any of these signs, talk to them to see how they’re doing. Bring it up with their medical provider or mental health provider if they have one.
If you or your child are not sure where to turn, you can call the Anne Arundel County Mental Health Warmline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can guide you to the resources you need. Their number is 410-768-5522.
Lastly, help your child build coping skills. Let them know that they can talk to someone they trust about their thoughts and feelings. Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy. Teach them relaxation skills such as deep breathing.
Stay safe and be kind to yourself and others. We’ll see you next week.