Vermont youth mental health deteriorating as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

COVID has been hard on everyone–that’s no surprise. But according to an advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, kids across the country are struggling with their mental health.

Globally, symptoms of depression and anxiety among children have doubled, and that’s just the start.

“Kids, in particular, just that loss of freedom of socialization would be a big part of it. Everything’s just a little bit more difficult to do than it was before,” said Mandy Gesme, a children’s mental health counselor with Pathways Behavioral Science.

According to the surgeon general’s advisory, risk factors for negative mental health symptoms among children in the pandemic include pre-existing mental health challenges, having parents or caregivers who are frontline workers, and family struggles with finances or housing. Another one that might be a bit surprising—kids are sensitive to having their routines disrupted.

“Day-to-day, not knowing what might present itself is difficult and hard on kids and their mental health. Adults, you just get a little bit better, you build up those coping skills, but kids don’t quite have that capacity yet,” Gesme said.

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