By Aly Tomas, volunteer
This past year has been challenging for everyone. COVID-19 has affected how we work, learn, socialize, exercise and even buy groceries. The lockdowns added stress for parents, teachers and have impacted the lives of children and youth too.
This pandemic has impacted our everyday routines like, children going to school in-person or virtually. There are constant interruptions to their routines and this has increased stress, depression and anxiety for all children and youth.
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
The pandemic added stress for parents, teachers and families. Experts expect the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health to be felt for a long time. Studies indicate:
200% increase in admissions for substance use disorders compared to last year (Source: Children’s Healthcare Canada) 100% increase in suicide attempt admissions (Source: Children’s Healthcare Canada) 25% increase in ER visits among children and youth for mental-health conditions (Source: SickKids) 70% increase in reported mental health decline in some way (Source: Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations)
Children, this past year, have resorted to virtual learning. Online learning has decreased quality interactions with teachers and friends. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can cause anxiety and lead to depression. Children need to build and nurture relationships with their friends. They need to be exposed to positive role models. They lack the contributions that lead to self-confidence, problem-solving and the ability to work as part of a team. As it is important to maintain relationships, the best we can do now is keep in touch with friends and family by phone, virtual meetings, or safe, socially distanced visits.
Programming outside of regular school hours is important for development! Extra-curricular activities provide opportunities for children to learn new things, build confidence and work as a team. Extra-curricular programs were cancelled during the lockdown and this left children isolated and unstructured.
Moorelands Kids moved their after-school programs and summer camp virtually. These programs strived to give structure in this unstructured time. They continued to build positive relationships, learning new things and socialize with others.
Although we cannot control the negative impact of the pandemic, on children’s mental health, we can make efforts to reduce the impact. We can do this by:
- providing structure through virtual programs
- establishing routines through weekly meetings
- encouraging participation in extra-curricular programs virtually
- socializing with peers and positive role models in a safe manner.
This year has highlighted the importance of empowering children. We can continue to do this by focusing on problem-solving skills and communication skills.
Moorelands Kids’ programs and camps focus on developing leadership habits and qualities. These include respect, responsibility, teamwork, communication, decision making and goal setting. By developing these habits and qualities, children are better equipped to navigate through these tough times.
Moorelands Kids creates supportive environments by gaining problem-solving skills, becoming resilient, confident and equipped with important life skills to overcome challenges now and in the future. We need your help to continue doing this! Consider partnering with us and make this impact today.
MAKE AN IMPACT NOW!
Give campers positive, intentional connections with peers and caring adults that increase their resiliency and strengthen their mental health and wellbeing.