DEAR DR EVE,
I’m writing to you about my daughter. I’m worried about her. She is 14
years old and since covid-19, she has changed. I know she is a teen and
teens act weird but I think this is more than just teen weird. She was a
very popular and social child, she loved school and hanging out with her
friends. Since being back to kind of “normal”, she just isn’t the same.
She hardly speaks to me anymore, spends a lot of time alone, and doesn’t
want to go out with her friends. Even her school marks have dropped. It’s
even a big deal to get her to shower and wash her hair. Does she need
medication or therapy ???
“Dear Concerned Mom,
Thank you for being a “concerned mom ‘ and noticing that your child is
different. Indeed she sounds as if she is struggling and suffering.
Your first task is to let her know that you “see” her, that you “notice” she
is distressed, without pressurizing her to talk to you. And definitely find a
mental health provider with whom she can talk, or sit, or rock, or with
whom she can throw a ball or lie on the floor with a heavy weighted
blanket on her.
Just a few days ago, an important piece of research was published in The
Lancet medical journal. The research, which took place in 204 countries,
is the first global estimate of the impacts of the pandemic on mental health.
What the results indicate is that covid-19 led to a high rise in depressive
and anxiety disorders globally in 2020, and most significant for your
interest… women and younger people have been most affected.
An additional 53 million cases of major depressive disorder and 76
a million cases of anxiety disorders were due to the pandemic.
The research indicated that in 2020, cases of major depressive disorder
and anxiety disorders increased by 28% and 26%, respectively. Women
were affected more than men, and younger people were more affected
than older age groups.
Countries with high COVID-19 infection rates and major reductions in the
movement of people – a consequence of measures such as lockdowns and
school closures – had the greatest increases in the prevalence of major
depressive disorder and anxiety disorders.
Now you can better understand why your previously vibrant daughter has
lost her zest. In countries where there was an increased rate of infections
and loss of mobility showed an increase in depression and anxiety.
I quote from an article in https://www.eurekalert.org/news-
releases/930770:” School closures and wider restrictions limiting young
people’s ability to learn and interact with their peers, combined with the
increased risk of unemployment, also meant that young people were also
more heavily impacted by major depressive disorder and anxiety
disorders during the pandemic.”
By the way, as your daughter’s mom, I invite you to notice your own
mental health. As I mentioned the research indicated that in addition to
younger people, women had the highest increase in depression and anxiety.
They state that for numerous reasons, women were always more likely to
be worse affected by the social and economic consequences of the
pandemic. Additional caring and household responsibilities tend to fall on
women, and because women are more likely to be victims of domestic
violence, which increased at various stages of the pandemic.
So best you ensure you are mentally well to be able to manage the
the mental health of your daughter.”