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The impacts of social isolation on kids' and adolescents' mental health

(KOLO)
Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 6:20 PM CDT
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The upending of lives across the country and globe has brought an increased attention to mental health. And the youngest of those forced away from the classroom and friends has its negative effects and it’s something that parents need to keep an eye on.

Dr. Brian Weiland, a clinical psychologist from Behavioral Health Clinic joined NewsChannel 7 at 4 on Wednesday. He said with being at home, kids and teens are missing out on the usual activities they’re used so, like sports. And right now, a lot of seniors are missing out on graduation.

“I think what ends of happening is a lot of these young adults, they end of feeling more anxiety and more depression,” he said. “It’s one thing to be able to interact with friends over Facetime or over the internet, but it’s another thing to have that face-to-face interaction with them, and if you don’t have that, it can be a problem.”

He added that a child with a rough home life, relying on meals they had gotten at school or being able to connect with his or her parents, can be especially trying.

“We’re going to notice that those kids are going to have more adjustment issues as time goes on with this social isolating.”

Weiland said the good news is that the months of social isolation will not have long-term effects on children.

“Kids especially under five, this is a good time. They get more attachment with their families, and for most folks it can be a good thing.”

But he added that for adolescents, this is the time they push away from family and closer to their peers. So if they don’t get that time away, this can be an especially tricky time.

“For parents, I would recommend giving your adolescent some space and making sure with your young, young children you play games that are interactive, and maybe get to know the ways in which your children are communicating with their friends over the internet with the social media and things like that,” Weiland advised. “And allow them to have that time on the computer. That social interaction is so important.”

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