Mental Health Awareness – The Corona Coaster

2020 has been a strange one to say the least, and it’s fair to say it’s been a real test on our emotions. We’ve been confined to our homes, removed from loved ones and seen many of the events we were looking forward to cancelled.

You might be a parent that’s spotted frequent emotional changes in your child? Suffolk Mind have noted that they are hearing from many parents who are concerned about their children’s rapid mood changes and poor sleep while in lockdown. Do these sound familiar?

  • “I’m worried because my child gets really angry over really small things.”
  • “I can see there is something wrong with my son, but he won’t talk about it.”
  • “My son doesn’t want to talk to his friends online anymore.”

The ‘Corona Coaster’ refers to the ups and downs of emotions during the pandemic, and it’s not just young people who are affected by this. However, we know that mood changes are a natural part of a young person’s development and experience, but it seems that the ‘roller coaster’ of emotions has been much more dramatic during lockdown. This has made communication within families much more challenging, putting a strain on relationships and causing parents and carers to worry about the wellbeing of their young person(s).

For young people everywhere, their lives as they knew them ended abruptly and they are now living with a great deal of uncertainty and loss of control. They are likely to feel socially isolated from their peers, who are a vital part of their lives as they grow in independence.

So what can we, as adults, do to support them?

  • Be mindful of their exposure to media and news – it’s easy to become overwhelmed by scary statistics and never-ending doubts.
  • Find a common activity that you can enjoy together (e.g. walking or playing a game) – conversation will come naturally.
  • Listen and accept their vision of the world. This builds their trust in you.
  • Avoid starting conversations with “when I was your age …”. It is a conversation killer!
  • Become a master of “letting go” so you can hold the boundaries that really matter. Choose your battles carefully. The most important thing right now is for them to feel connected and safe and to maintain a healthy relationship

There is lots we can do to support ourselves and our young people. In fact, it’s not all bad news and lockdown can also provide us with opportunities. Many parents and carers are sharing stories with Suffolk Mind of how lockdown has unexpectedly helped young people meet needs better, so there are lots of reasons to feel hopeful.

  • “My daughter has started reading to herself at bedtimes for the first time.”
  • “My kids created a daily timetable themselves that included some school work, lots of breaks and screen-time and they have used a timer to stick to it … mostly!”
  • “I came home to a meal on my birthday cooked by my 16 year old.”

For more information and advice on the ‘Corona-Coaster’, please read the complete blog on Suffolk Mind’s website:
https://www.suffolkmind.org.uk/young-people-riding-the-coronacoaster/

Want to speak to someone directly or need some personal support? Call the team on 0300 111 6000.

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