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Published: April 8, 2021

Children's mental health during pandemic

Dr. Kathryn Soward says for one year now children have been out of their regular routine and that has impacted them.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Throughout the pandemic we've seen more people being vocal and open in addressing their mental health and taking care of themselves, but it's not just something we're seeing in adults.

A clinical psychologist in Corpus Christi shares that many children are dealing with depression and anxiety right now.

"This is at a critical level, this is not just a mild issue right now," said Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kathryn Soward.

Dr. Soward says her practice has been busy seeing children of all ages.

“Right here in Corpus Christi, we have so many children in need of help to deal with depression and anxiety right now," said Dr. Soward.

Dr. Soward shared what she found to be at the core of those issues.

"It's pretty clear, it's not going back to school that is the root cause of this,” said Dr. Soward. “It's that for one solid year now children have been out of their regular routine.”

Dr. Soward says although school has been in session through remote learning, it's a bit harder for children who may be a little more shy.

"I have some kids that are pretty Isolated and introverted and to try to maintain friendships through zoom if you're that kind of child it just doesn't work," said Dr. Soward.

"Even though the kids are doing virtual learning it is so far outside of their capability to cope with being out of the school environment that one of the best things that could happen is for children to get back in school on a regular routine," said Dr. Soward.

But those changes won't happen overnight. Dr. Soward says she's noticed anxiety in some patients as they get ready to head back to campus.

"Once they get in there though, I noticed that they adjust after a few weeks and it begins to feel more normal and they begin to reconnect with friends and it's good for them to be back," said Dr. Soward.

Even if it doesn't seem like something's wrong, she urges parents to check in and ask how their child is feeling.

“Not just assuming if they're quiet and behaving that everything is okay, you  really got to do an activity with them and open up a conversation about how they're feeling, how they're doing and how they're handling things,"  said Dr. Soward.

She also recommends prioritizing fun in family time when you can.

“That's what families are needing right now. Schedule some things that are fun to do together,” said Dr. Soward.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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