More concerns raised over how pandemic affected children’s mental health
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As experts continue to learn about the heath impact from COVID-19, some are raising concerns about how the pandemic has affected the mental health of children. These concerns are highlighted with April being Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County Clinical Manager Ericka Purcell said while it’s too early to tell what the long-term results will be, the pandemic added to the stress and trauma of patients the center was already working with.
Purcell said the pandemic also caused an increased need for therapy. That caused its own issues after clinics filled up and couldn’t take new clients. Purcell advises parents and caregivers to stay curious about their children, to talk with professionals if they don’t understand something that’s going on with them, and to be mindful of any small changes in behavior.
“It’s very small, like maybe they’re not eating as much, or they seem more irritable. We don’t want them to make a huge deal out of it, but be aware and cautious,” she said. “I mean, we’ve all gone through a lot of change in the last two years, and we don’t know what that can do toa person unless it’s ourselves, right?”
When it comes to child abuse, Purcell said it’s difficult to know what went on in children’s homes during the beginning of the pandemic when schools switched to remote learning. Purcell said she expects to see new trends emerge from that in the future. What she can say for sure is that there has been a rise of internet crimes against children.
Eyewitness News anchor and “Right Now” host Michael Schwanke spoke on these topics with Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County Executive Director Diana Schunn. Schunn also discussed an upcoming event associated with Child Abuse Awareness Month. You can see that interview in the player below.
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