Children's mental health problems in lockdown: 10 signs for parents to watch out for

A new University of Bath review of more than 60 studies suggests children and young people are likely to experience high rates of depression and anxiety long after lockdown ends
Lisa Salmon (PA)

AS RESEARCH shows lockdown could spark mental health problems in children, the charity YoungMinds outlines warning signs to be aware of...

1. Persistent changes in mood or behaviour: Keep an eye out for your child persistently exhibiting different moods or behaviours. Try keeping your family routine as consistent as possible – children can really benefit from stability of routine when they are struggling with their feelings or emotions.

2. Withdrawal: Children struggling with their mental health may find it difficult to communicate. Try to open up conversations about what they're involved and usually interested in.

3. Joylessness: Young people may find no joy or contentment in things they usually enjoy.

4. Poor sleep: There may be a change in things like your child's sleeping or eating habits.

5. Lack of focus: Children and young people may be finding it hard to concentrate.

6. Lack of interest: They may have no interest in their school work, or in play, or spending time with people.

7. Boredom: They may complain of feeling bored or lonely, even when they have friends. Try and talk to your child, and dedicate some quality time that you can spend together and do something they enjoy. This is a great way to help your child open up and reassure them that you're always there.

8. Irritability : They may be more irritable and moody than normal.

9. Sadness: Children may be tearful, or simply look sad or withdrawn.

10. Lack of confidence: They may have less self belief than normal.

As a parent, be part of the solution, suggests YoungMinds. There are many things you can do to support your child, like helping them plan, problem solve, or develop hope for the future.

Contact your GP or school about the warning signs if things don't improve. You can also contact the YoungMinds parents helpline on 0808 802 5544.

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