This post will be a little off the beaten path from my normal content. I was listening to NPR this morning (this is the related story) and there was a story about the profound non-medical impacts the current pandemic is having on children. Specifically their state of mind and their ability to cope with the isolation required of them.
Listening to this story, it hit home personally as I watch my daughters currently struggle with mental health issues themselves. My youngest daughter has told us repeatedly that she “doesn’t feel like herself” right now. Both My wife and I are convinced that this is because of the social isolation required of her. My oldest daughter is more prone to outbursts, and is also more emotional than she was prior to the pandemic restricting her daily routine. My oldest has been seeing a therapist about these types of issues for a while now and we are actively looking to get my youngest in with a ttherapist as well.
The world is so focused on the direct impact of COVID-19 on those affected but the mental health aspect is only just now starting to be fully understood. Humans are social creatures, no matter how introverted one may be. We need to be able to talk to and make contact with other people to maintain a healthy state of mind. While video chat platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, WebEx, etc. have made it better, they cannot replace in person conversations. Given how long my kids have been away from others, I am not looking forward to the next academic year when they need to return to “normal” school activities. They will be so unaccustomed to what they are expected to deal with that adjusting will be traumatic on its own.
I hope that we all can adjust mentally over the coming weeks and months to whatever will be considered the new “normal.” I especially hope our children will be able to adjust to this as well, especially the younger ones who are still unsure how to process the pandemic as it is today. Only time will tell what the true extent of the trauma caused by social isolation.