The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 on Families
If you asked any of us a year ago what would life be like in 2020, it’s doubtful anyone would have guessed we would be going through a global pandemic, replete with lockdowns and self-quarantining. At the beginning of the year, some families might have thought of being forced to stay home from work and school would be a fun little vacation. But as the weeks and months have passed, we’ve all learned this has been anything but fun.
But how is COVID affecting families? Well, it affects parents and kids and spouses a little differently.
How it Affects Kids
Kids haven’t enjoyed the time off nearly as much as we all initially thought. Disruption to normal routines caused many teens and adolescents to feel anxiety. Add to this being away from their friends, and many young people are also feeling depressed.
Summer vacation for many this year wasn’t as fun as normal as travel has been next to impossible for some families in certain states. Sports teams were canceled, and boredom has set in for many kids, which has led to a lot of acting out and showing mood swings.
The pandemic has also negatively impacted those youths already suffering from a mental health issue, such as those on the autism spectrum. For many of these kids, a disruption of routine combined with cancellation of speech and social skills therapy sessions has stalled their progress and caused anxiety.
With some schools opening and some only offering online classes, life is still not back to normal and many kids are simply not able to deal with this crisis any longer.
How it Affects Parents
Parents have, without question, been hit hard by the pandemic. With forced school closures, many parents have had to learn how to home school while also learn how to get used to the “new normal” of working from home.
As if that wasn’t enough, parents have also had to become mental health therapists, helping their children navigate through the fear, anxiety, and depression they are experiencing.
How it Affects Spouses
Quarantining and self-isolation have definitely impacted our familial and romantic relationships. When you are locked in a house with your family, things can become chaotic and, well, everyone gets on each other’s nerves. Now forced to live on top of one another, and enduring financial hardships, worrying about health, and educating and organizing the children—just going grocery shopping can add a layer of stress.
Those couples who may already have relationship issues under the surface may find the sudden and intense stress has brought these issues to the surface. This can be a turning point for many relationships: will this current crisis bring us closer or finally drive us apart?
Without question, we are all living under an intense amount of stress and it is affecting us all in different ways. If you and your family aren’t able to handle the stress any longer, it’s important that you reach out and get some help from a professional counselor. Most therapists are offering telehealth services, which means you can get the benefits of therapy right over the internet.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please call me at 321-251-8344. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.
Carma Kuhn, M.Ed., LMHC – [email protected]