I’m A Therapist Working With Children And Families. Here’s How COVID-19 Is Affecting Them.

by Jeremy

As a psychoanalyst and parent guidance expert working in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic with parents of children and adolescents, and often with the children themselves, it has broken my heart to see the pain and emotional suffering of families currently experiencing. Not only am I busier than I have ever been in my long career as a clinician, but the intensity and degree of my patients’ stress have increased exponentially.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 18- to 24-year-olds have reported high levels of anxiety and depression, and nearly a quarter has considered suicide. In my clinical practice, I’ve also seen this rise in despair among younger children, adolescents, and their families. COVID-19 has opened Pandora’s box of emotional, behavioral and mental health issues that will be difficult to put back in the box once the pandemic is under control. 

Children and adolescents are faced with so many losses, including social isolation, school transitions that didn’t happen, friends moving away without the ability to say goodbye, and family and extended family members getting sick and dying. The fears of parents and grandparents dying, which under normal circumstances they might feel and express as a regular part of development that I would treat as an anxious fantasy, has become a reality. Things I might call neurotic before the pandemic are now reasonable concerns. 

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