COVID-19 Impact: Spotlight on Older Children and Adolescents

By Annette Ermshar
Special to The Outlook

Annette Ermshar

As a society, we can certainly acknowledge the serious impacts that COVID-19, quarantine, and social distancing has had on all of us. However, in my psychology practice, I have been particularly concerned with the rise of mental health issues in older children and adolescents. This age range thrives from being with peers, connecting through social outlets, and feeling validated by their social interactions. In the midst of school closures and stay-at-home orders, adolescents in particular have faced the challenges of continued virtual learning, minimal face-to-face peer interactions, a significant rise in depression, suicidality, and drug use, and uncertainty about their future.
In order to best appreciate how our adolescents are faring during these unprecedented times, it is necessary to understand this phase of development. Adolescence is a pivotal period when their relationships begin to reorganize. Older children and teenagers desire to have more independence and emotional distance from their parents, so they shift their focus to social interactions and broadening and deepening their friendships. Likewise, their sense of identity becomes strongly associated with their peer group as they develop a greater sense of self and learn who they are, what they like, and what image they want to portray.
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Top 10 Things To Do While ‘Safer at Home’

By Annette Ermshar
Special to The Outlook

Annette Ermshar

1. Make Time for self-care and stay positive – Get rest, strengthen your immune system, and be sure to attend to your mental health needs. It is a well-known fact that mental and emotional stress have a direct impact on our immune functions. On the flip side, we also know that a positive outlook on life and self-compassion are associated with a stronger immune system. In addition, be sure you are getting enough sleep and limit the use of alcohol to manage or escape your stress. Should you find your mental health symptoms escalating, consider teletherapy. Teletherapy is a great way to maintain mental health and to process the many emotions that we are all facing with a therapist, right from the comfort of your own home. Continue reading “Top 10 Things To Do While ‘Safer at Home’”