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Doctors say pandemic has caused increase in kids’ mental health issues

Clinical psychologist Dr. Debra Reicher, of Stony Brook Medicine, says on Long Island and all across the country doctors have seen an increase in mental health issues in kids.

News 12 Staff

Nov 20, 2020, 11:37 PM

Updated 1,306 days ago

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Doctors say the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of Long Island parents and children.
Brook Leighton of Massapequa is a mom of three young boys. Like most parents, she's trying to create a sense of normalcy for her kids during the pandemic.
"I think it's very challenging as a parent because a lot of the activities that you would do as a parent with your children you cannot do, especially now that it's colder," Leighton says.
She says keeping an eye on her kids' mental health is always in the back of her mind.
“I think it's hardest for my 7-year-old because he was so accustomed to the way things were pre-COVID," she says. "I think he's more aware of the changes and that can lead to anxiety."
Clinical psychologist Dr. Debra Reicher, of Stony Brook Medicine, says on Long Island and all across the country doctors have seen an increase in mental health issues in kids. She says for younger kids, there are certain signs to look out for.
“You'd look for things like tantruming, changes in eating, sleeping patterns. Sometimes even regressed behavior, a sign for teens sometimes, is just the inability to enjoy things that they previously would. I think if you have any concern about your child just not being able to get through the day, they're not functioning the way the used to…it certainly wouldn't hurt to talk to a mental health professional,” Dr. Reicher says.
Parent Matt Amore says his kids have a lot questions during this time.
“Asking questions about COVID-19 or are we going back to remote learning. ‘Is it going to be the same as it was last year?’ As parents, we just got to make sure that we don’t stop the communication,” he says.
Dr. Reicher says a lot of kids' emotions and behaviors come from their parents. She says it's important for parents to focus on what they can control and to take time to take care of their own mental health.


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