Stress and anxiety rates have skyrocketed in the last 18 months due to the pandemic. According to a CBC report, the main concern among educators is not the long gap or loss in academic performance but 90% of the teachers are concerned about the mental health of their students and peers. Anxiety levels in youth and children were already high pre-pandemic, but the effects of COVID-19 have just compounded these issues further.
Dr. Shimi Kang states that some of the mental health issue trends that are on a rise with children and youth are:
Social Anxiety: After spending months behind screens and masks, children are anxious to assimilate back into a social environment and build skills of confidence, set healthy boundaries and engage in open communication.
Technology Addiction: Heavy reliance on technology to stay occupied through gaming and social media, stay connected socially with their friends, and access their schoolwork have further exacerbated the issue of increased screen time – leading to problems such as lack of control, distorted self-image due to social media, acting out/aggression when boundaries are being set, depression and isolation as they withdraw socially.
Hyper Sociability & Substance Use: An increasing trend in adolescents where they want to socialize more than before, and this has been found to lead to increased alcohol and drug abuse.
Increased awareness and acceptance around mental health crises lately has led to an unprecedented increase in demand for these services. The system is overwhelmed and translates into long wait times for therapists to see children and youth in these crises.
CBC News early last year reported that the Canadian Mental Health Association estimated an average wait time for certain kinds of mental health services to be stretched for several months to a year or more.
To meet this need Dr. Shimi Kang and her team at Dolphin Kids have recently expanded their offerings to include counselling services geared towards children, youth, and their families. What makes this service unique is that all the counsellors work with collaborative support from a psychiatrist, Dr. Shimi Kang herself, who has been in the field for almost 20 years.
So how could counselling help your child and when is a good time to seek help?
- If your child has experienced recent trauma, bullying, or loss of some kind and has not had previous help;
- If they are acting out and/or aggressive;
- If you feel like you are not able to help your child with their feelings and manage their emotions;
- If your child seems to get more aggravated when talking to you, or fear that they may disappoint you;
- If they are choosing to isolate and disconnect, withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed;
- And on a more extreme end, if they engage in self harm or suicidal attempts or addictive behaviours;
- All of these are indicators that a counsellor may be helpful to intervene and help build a safe trusting environment and be able to navigate these difficult emotions, experiences, and conversations.
Child Counsellors can help with:
- Identifying the underlying issues that are affecting your child’s overall health and well-being. They can help them become aware, identify, and talk about their feelings.
- Interpreting the issues they are experiencing and/or the trauma that occurred – in a way they can process and understand.
- Various issues such as, stress and anxiety, anger management, coping skills, school-based issues- such as bullying, academic pressures, peer pressure and influence, as well as technology use, screentime, drug/alcohol addiction, family issues – such as divorce, single parent, grief and much more.
- Dolphin Kids counsellors use methods and resources that seem to be familiar and attractive to young minds i.e., through arts, games, role playing, downtime practices- like journaling or drawing and other fun activities that they can identify with and hence achieve the desired counselling goals through these friendly methods.
If you feel you need additional support to help your child and family navigate through some Emotional – Mental Health challenges, our team of multidisciplinary and multi-linguistic counsellors are here to help. Simply email us at [email protected] or visit our website www.dolphinkids.ca