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Pandemic brings Added Anxiety to Adolescents

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, the perfect time for parents to talk to their kids. This is more important now than ever since the CDC reports that the incidence of anxiety and depression among adolescents and teens has really increased since the pandemic.

The same is true here at home. Dr. Sarah Wakefield, Chairman of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center says, “You know, I spoke with some colleagues of mine who are pediatric emergency physicians. And at the beginning of the pandemic, they actually saw a huge decrease in kids presenting to the emergency room with suicidal ideation for three or four months. And then it was like the dam broke. And they’re seeing more kids, more children, more youth in worse distress than they’ve ever seen.” Dr. Wakefield adds that by the a young person is in crisis, they have been suffering for a very long time. So what are the clues? She says, ‘They feel darker. They feel withdrawn. They feel isolated, maybe their grades are dropping at school. They’re not going out with their friends as much or don’t want to. They want to withdraw from sports that they’re doing or other activities that used to bring them joy. Those are pretty clear signs that something is going wrong. It’s not just 30 minutes of having a tantrum.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those between ages 10 and 34.

For more advice from Dr. Wakefield, the on-air report is included on this page.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also provides a 24/7 support-line that is free and confidential.

Call 1-800-273-8255 (273-TALK).

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