Maintaining a mental health balance has been a struggle across the globe for several years, really peaking with the introduction and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation and economic struggles are hitting Americans hard and have been for several months now. Gas prices, grocery costs and/or rent hikes are affecting everyone. Financial struggles have long been recognized as a cause of anxiety and depression and the inflation we’re experiencing now is no different.
With families, poor mental health can cause a domino effect, starting with the parents and trickling down to the kids. It is important to monitor your kid’s behavior and to reach out to extended family and friends to see how they are doing. Look out for frequent signs of depression such as isolation, lack of sleep, agitation and a decrease in activities previously enjoyed. According to the Child Mind Institute, signs of anxiety may vary in children, with symptoms such as disruptive behavior, clinging to caregivers or parents and frequent headaches or stomachaches.
As we discussed frequently during the early stages of COVID-19, kids often took their cues from their parents. Parents can help ease the worry by keeping the lines of communication open, encouraging everyone to talk and ask questions or share concerns. This can help prevent isolation that can accompany depression and anxiety. Turning off the TV and now logging out of social media can also help quiet the worries.
There is help out there! The recently introduced ‘988’ suicide and crisis lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and staffed by 200 crisis centers across the country.
In Tennessee, Youth Villages offers a 24/7 crisis support line for anyone up to the age of 18 who is experiencing a psychiatric emergency. This hotline is staffed by master’s-level clinicians who can assess the situation efficiently and effectively, make sure everyone is safe and provide the next steps for a care plan, whether that involves in-patient care or a therapy plan.
Youth Villages is one of the largest providers of services to children in Tennessee and a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. The organization has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at www.youthvillages.org.
Crisis services are available 24/7 if your child needs support. Call 855-CRISIS-1 or text CONNECT to 741741. If you have thoughts of suicide, contact 988 to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.