How to Take Care of Your Child Mental Health Once Lockdown Lifts
Date : Jun 09, 2020
Author : DR Armed Zayed
COVID-19 has brought a wave of uncertainty. It’s normal for a child to feel anxious, terrified, or worried after a sudden change in their daily routine. The longer the epidemic remains an issue, the bigger the chances of triggering anxieties and struggles. But, when the lockdown restrictions get lifted, that’s when we can finally grasp its impact on a childrens mental health.
Here, we will delve deeper into the psychological state of the child after quarantine. How to give them the right mental health support to get back to a usual way of life and when to ask for help. But first, we must fully comprehend the impact all the restrictions have on a child’s mental well-being.
How the Restrictions Will Affect Childrens Mental Health After Lockdown?
Children’s mental health will most likely be taking a downward spiral. The moment the restrictions get lifted, the younger population is expected to experience high rates of anxiety and depression, stated Dr Maria Loades, an expert psychologist for ITV Report. Loneliness will leave the most significant impact.
As a result, experts suggest parents remain alert and recognize any mood changes, distress, depression, or signs of anxiety. These behavioural changes will most likely be evident on the first day of school.
According to the doctor, there is a link between depression and loneliness, particularly for the younger population. It can have both short and long term effects. In some cases, it can take years before a child shows a sudden change in mental health.
As a result, experts suggest parents remain alert and recognize any red flags. These behavioural changes will most likely be evident on the first day of school.
Childrens Mental Health Red Flags
Certain signs can signal if your child is going through behavioural or emotional changes. Here is a list of all the red flags that indicate a steady decline in childrens mental health:
• Constant troubles at school, daycare, at home, or with friends
• Feelings of hopelessness and sadness that won’t disappear
• Drawn-out negative attitudes
• Loss of focus
• Change in eating patterns
• Constant nightmares
• Violence and anger towards items, animals, and people
• Strange behaviours or beliefs
• Inability to deal with their problems
• Constant refusal to attend school
• Intentional disobedience
• Engaging in dangerous situations
• The constant shortage of energy
• No remorse
In many cases, a child can experience multiple symptoms. Often, it could be the result of a significant life change, like parents’ divorce, death of a family member, and life-threatening disease. Whatever the case, it is essential to accept these changes and find a way to overcome the problem.
6 Ways to Provide Proper Mental Health Support for Your Young One
Back to school will take some getting used to. This is what we call a transition period. Children will have to get used to the phase and slowly adapt to communicating with their friends. There are a few tactics you can use to make the process a little bit easier.
1. Establish a Routine
Life has to feel normal. But, no matter how difficult the situation may be, every child needs to have responsibilities. These responsibilities keep them busy and organized. In other words, it provides a sense of security.
So, draft a visual timetable and determine the things they have to do for the day. For example, when they have to exercise, do homework, chores, play, and relax.
2. Get Them to Talk With Peers Before School
For the youngest, it’s crucial to implement playful ways for them to reconnect with friends. Encourage your child to play with a handful of their peers before school. So, they won’t find it difficult to just jump into an overcrowded environment.
This tactic can help the child overcome social boundaries gradually. Eventually, they will feel comfortable in a new environment.
3. Give Them a “Feelings Diary”
A child needs to identify and understand their feelings. You can help them achieve that. So, whenever they feel discouraged, sad, or happy, you will know about it. Here is an example:
4. Encourage Relaxing Activities
This can be their “Feelings Diary”. The goal is to fill up each chart with feelings for every day of the week. It can help you get a clear picture of your child’s emotional state.
Getting back to school can put any child on edge. The key to getting them to calm down is to encourage them to do relaxing activities. They can:
• Use stress toys
• Take a bubble bath
• Do easy exercises
5. Make a Coping Toolbox
When taking care of young children, you need to get creative and find a way to help them unwind. That can be achieved with a handmade Coping Toolbox. This is an effective method for encouraging positive feelings.
All you have to do is get a container or a box and decorate it. Then, explain to your child that they have to fill the container with all the right things. Anything that reminds them of positive feelings, like a picture, gift, CD, teddy bear, etc.
Whenever they feel sad, they should open up the container and take one thing out. No matter what they pick, the container will evoke positive emotions.
6. Use a Worry Jar
Some children will directly ask about any problem. But, others are less willing to open up and express their concerns. It’s normal for a child to be worried immediately after lockdown. Besides, all their routines and activities have changed. Providing them with a Worry Jar will help them express themselves.
It’s a creative way to get them to talk about their feelings without being judged. All you have to do is find a container or a jar and ask your child to decorate it for you. This will draw them in and help them use the jar. When you are done, pick 10 to 15 min a day specially dedicated to filling up the Worry Jar.
Ask your child to write on a piece of paper whatever is troubling them. Set a timer to make the Worry Time feel more impactful. When they are done, close the lid. This will give them the impression that all their worries are put away.
They are no longer there to trouble them. When that worry is no longer on their mind, ask your child to take out the piece of paper where they wrote their problems and throw it away. This will give them a sense of accomplishment.
But don’t forget to read their worries. Make sure you know what their troubles are so you will tailor each conversation to their benefit.
When to Contact Mental Health Services?
There is a significant difference between a bad mood and depression. If you notice that your child is continuously feeling unhappy, discouraged, or demotivated, you should seek help from child mental health services, advises the NHS. Remember, prolonged behavioural changes are a red mental health flag.
The longer the problem remains untreated, the more complicated it becomes, eventually escalating into a severe mental disorder. If you are unsure what kind of help you need, you can ask a GP for a referral. Contact any mental health support services in your local area.
The current pandemic creates difficult emotional boundaries for the younger population. But, every problem can be fixed as long as you have the right approach. All the tips we listed above can help you achieve precisely that.
How Virtual Reality is being used with Mental Health Treatment
Date : Mar 31, 2020
Author : DR Armed Zayed
Mental health conditions pose as a global problem. In the United States alone, at least 7.2% of the population is suffering from a major depressive disorder. Anxiety disorder affects an estimated 19.1% of the population. The World Health Organization reports that at least 25% of the worldwide population is affected by some type of mental health disorder.
Virtual reality has been used as an alternative and complementary therapy for quite some time now. Emerging evidence shows that virtual reality can be an effective strategy for treating several types of mental health disorders in the general population.
How Virtual Reality Helps In The Treatment Of Mental Health Conditions
Virtual reality is used in different ways to help people overcome symptoms associated with certain mental health conditions. Different mental health disorders are also being treated through experimental programs that take advantage of virtual reality technology.
Let’s take a closer look at how virtual reality is currently being used in the treatment of various mental health concerns.
Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental illnesses that affect the general population. An estimated 40 million adults in the US are affected by anxiety disorders. This accounts for about 18.1% of the US population. Even though the prevalence of anxiety disorders is high, a mere 36.9% of patients are estimated to receive treatment.
Several companies have implemented virtual reality technologies to help patients suffering from anxiety disorders. Mimerse was one of the very first virtual reality systems to go live, focusing particularly on patients who experience symptoms of anxiety disorders. Mimerse worked closely with Samsung to produce a virtual reality world that would help these patients.
Mimerse is primarily a virtual pharmacy. Scientists, healthcare professionals, and clinicians are working closely with the developers of the platform to provide a more authentic experience for patients.
Several products have already been integrated into the Mimerse platform. This includes a relaxation experience that helps the patient experience a state of calmness and relaxation. A meditation program has also been developed and implemented into the Mimerse platform.
Another virtual reality platform, known as Psious, was developed with health professionals in mind. The tool is primarily aimed at mental health professionals who are setting up clinical trials. The platform is able to provide patients access to more than 50 different, virtually populated environments that have been specifically designed to assist in the treatment of common mental health illnesses.
The company was founded by Xavier Palomer, who states that he is striving to help millions experience an improvement in their mental health.
These are only two examples of platforms that use virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders. Many platforms give patients access to exotic locations that they can roam, all while sitting at home or at the office of mental health professionals. These virtual environments can help to manifest a calmness in the patient, which is a critical factor among people with anxiety.
Some virtual reality technologies are also focusing on helping patients overcome their phobias. This falls into the same category of anxiety disorders in many cases. There are some platforms designed specifically for phobias. Other platforms would rather focus on treating anxiety disorders in general, with the ability to also help the patient overcome phobias.
The Limbix platform is a good example of how virtual technology is used to treat phobias. The platform is used for the treatment of phobias and anxiety symptoms.
The platform is able to provide the patient access to a 360-degree video, with a virtual environment that they can explore. The Limbix platform is often used by mental health professionals in a controlled environment.
A program can be configured to expose the patient to the specific elements that they have a phobia for. This may include specific objects or people. It may also include specific scenarios, such as a social event or visiting a bar.
The use of such a platform allows the patient to face the fears that they have. The patient is able to face their phobia in a virtual environment, allowing the mental health professional to have more control over the situation.
The patient would then be exposed to their phobia during each session. The idea is that the response of the patient to the phobia will lessen with every exposure. Eventually, they will not have a fear of being exposed to that particular phobia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is another relatively common mental health problem. According to one publication, up to 9.2% of the population in the United States will experience symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can be triggered by a large number of things. The condition will generally develop following a traumatic experience that the patient had to go through. This may include some as significant as their experience during the war, or perhaps following an abusive relationship. Other causes include physical injuries, medical illnesses, mass conflict, and sexual assault.
Researchers are also working on techniques that would help post-traumatic stress patients experience a reduction in their symptoms through the use of virtual reality.
Currently, exposure therapy is considered an important option in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Virtual reality can be a helpful resource in providing patients access to exposure therapy.
The technique works by creating a virtual environment where the patient is exposed to an event similar to what triggered post-traumatic stress disorder. The patient will be provided the exposure therapy for a specific duration of time – and they will put on the virtual reality headset during each session with the therapist.
The idea is that the response to the traumatic event will be less fearful with every passing session. The patient will gradually start to experience less anxiety and stress in response to the virtual environment. The treatment is considered successful once the patient is able to put on the virtual reality headset and experience no fear or anxiety symptoms when exposed to the event that triggered post-traumatic stress disorder.
Current Limitations Faced
The major limitation that has been faced over the last two decades was the high cost of implementing virtual reality technologies as a treatment for mental health problems. For this reason, virtual reality is not yet considered a useful treatment option in many locations.
There has been a significant increase in the distribution of mobile virtual reality headsets in recent years, however. Technological advancements have been able to reduce the cost of these headsets too. Some mobile devices are also compatible with virtual reality technology, allowing them to be mounted into an appropriate headset.
With this in mind, it is becoming easier to provide mental health patients access to virtual reality programs as a way of helping them overcome the symptoms they experience. This opportunity is likely to be utilized in the near future, enabling more people to gain access to this form of treatment.
Virtual reality has shown promising results when used as a treatment for certain mental health conditions. Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder are able to experience a reduced anxious response to triggers. The use of virtual reality may also be useful for individuals with certain phobias and may act as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders too.