31% of UK Children Suffer From Anxiety: What Can Be Done?
We often perceive mental health issues like anxiety as only affecting adults. When a child or teenager expresses anxiety symptoms, we can brush it off as nerves, dramatics or attention-seeking behaviour. However, the UK is facing a secondary pandemic – anxiety. 31% of UK children currently suffer from anxiety. This mental health concern was already prominent in the younger generation before Covid-19 but has only worsened since the start of the pandemic.
Lowell surveyed 1500 children aged between 6 and 16 to reveal how poverty and Covid-19 are affecting their mental health. The 31% of anxious children stated that they were constantly worried about these two issues, as well schoolwork (57%), money their parents/carers have (23%) and the amount of food their parents/carers can afford (15%).
If you think your child could be one of the 31% suffering from anxiety, please keep reading for more information on how you can address and support this.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Children
If you are concerned about anxiety and suspect your child may be suffering from it, then keep an eye out for the following top symptoms:
- Persistent sadness: often defined as for two or more weeks, persistent sadness could suggest your child is suffering from anxiety which prevents their happiness.
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social interactions: children suffering from anxiety often isolate themselves from those around them. If your child is ordinarily social and energetic, a sudden drift away from everyone could be a sign.
- Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself: this should always be taken seriously as it could signify serious mental health issues.
- Talking about death or suicide: similar to hurting oneself, this should always be taken seriously and investigated.
- Outburst and out-of-control behaviour: If your child starts to suffer from outbursts of anger or frustration/irritation, this could be a sign that anxiety is affecting their behaviour.
Removing the Pressure
With 14% of the children surveyed admitting they were worried about schoolwork, it’s no surprise to see our children even more anxious about their GCSEs now exams are cancelled. Even during normal times, children are often plagued with worry over their schoolwork as they face pressure from teachers and parents to excel. Removing this type of stress will ensure your student no longer feels overwhelmed in their academic life. As a parent, you can reassure your child that while you want them to work hard and achieve their best, you understand that their best may not be reflected in the highest grades. By helping them understand that as long as they try, you are proud, they can start to lose some of the anxiety which pressures them.
17% of children surveyed also admitted they were worried about things that are happening in the world. 73% of teenagers surveyed stated that the pandemic had caused them to worry more. With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting huge aspects of all of our lives, we need to be aware that our children are being affected. Your child could be suffering anxiety over returning to school, catching Covid-19 and bringing it home. Reassure your children that as long as they follow guidelines (and potentially taking part in rapid testing when offered), they are doing their best. They shouldn’t be worried about returning to school or aspects of ordinary life.
Therapy for Anxiety
Although we are parents, we can’t be expected to understand and support our children’s mental health completely. We aren’t mental health experts and can’t be expected to act as such. Sometimes, our child’s mental health can be overwhelming and not even our support and words of encouragement is enough.
Here, therapy for children can be your life support. With experts like myself possessing the knowledge and experience to work with children facing anxiety, you can rest assured that they are being cared for by the best. Therapy will provide them with space to openly talk about what worries them and receive researched and practised advice on what they can do to overcome their anxiety.
If you are interested in learning more about anxiety in children and how you help them overcome it, please contact me today. I have experience working with families and children to support complex mental health issues which, left unaddressed, can negatively affect their lives later down the line. Don’t hesitate to reach out for the support you and your child desire.