Of the many long-reaching impacts COVID-19has had on our community, our children and adolescents have taken one of the strongest blows. Before COVID-19, their worlds revolved around school. After COVID-19, their worlds revolved around a computer screen, largely cut off from face-to-face interaction with their friends and peers. The impact of isolation and lack of socialization is deep. Sometimes, it helps to have a professional counselor helping your child re-enter society and re-learn how to be social again.
Thriveworks Pueblo is here to serve you and your family’s needs. Our counselors are skilled in individual and group counseling, and we now offer social groups for children and adolescents with a focus in re-socialization. Our goal is to help your child/adolescent better re-integrate into daily post-COVID-19 living. Together, we can set your child up for success.
Effects of Isolation and Lack of Socialization
The Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) found that kids without a close friend to confide in were significantly more likely to develop symptoms of depression. COVID-19 adds an extra kink into this finding- even if your child or adolescent has close friends, it is now very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to interact with them!
Another study found that friendship-related loneliness (feeling a disconnect between desired and actual social contact with friends) was a stronger risk-factor for mental health problems than parent-related loneliness (feeling a disconnect between desired and actual social contact with parents).
The research is clear: humans need other humans regardless of age, it’s how we’re wired!
Of course, not being able to attend school is not the same as not having friends. But for your teens and adolescents who has felt locked in the home for nearly a year, it can feel like the same thing, and can have just a big of a negative impact on psychological health.
In summary, increased isolation and diminished opportunities for peer interaction can lead to:
- Increased hypervigilance (“fight or flight”) response and higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased incidence of alcohol and drug use as a coping skill
- Higher levels of depression and anxiety
- Decline in self-care, such as bathing, grooming, and nutrition
- Negative self-image and self-efficacy
- Greater risk of suicide and suicidal ideation
This sounds like a grim prognosis but remember that this is often the worst-case scenarios. More than likely, your child is experiencing a few of these mildly, or maybe none at all, this is not a conclusive list! Regardless of you and your child’s experience, Thriveworks Pueblo is here to help them re-integrate into society, combat loneliness, and create an environment in which they can thrive.
For more information on our Socialization Group or individual therapy, give us a call at 719-838-6383.
How to combat isolation in children and adolescents
Depending on the severity of your child or adolescent’s feelings of loneliness/lack of socialization, therapy might not be needed. Some people have pre-existing conditions like anxiety or depression that make the COVID-19 isolation worse and require a one-on-one counseling environment. Others might thrive with higher levels of independence. Both options are great as they allow our future generations to thrive.
Some at-home intervention techniques you can employ to help your child or adolescent through COVID-19 isolation and loneliness include:
- Spend time as a unit
- Work on communication
- Set up appropriate virtual hangouts with friends- Netflix Party enables users to have virtual movie nights, and plenty of apps offer virtual game nights while video chatting over zoom.
- Support and role model healthy self-care habits. Maybe it’s painting, writing, reading comics, or a more obscure hobby, encourage them to engage! By supporting your child in their self-care ventures, you are encouraging them to take an active role in their mental health, a skill that will be with them long after COVID-19 is over.
- Counseling or social groups- of course, Thriveworks Pueblo will always be here to support you and your family as you reintegrate into society and work through any mental health problems the COVID-19 pandemic brought on. Our child and adolescent social support group for reintegration and socialization is specially engineered to fit your needs.
How Thriveworks Pueblo social groups can help:
What is it?
A weekly group that meets in-person to develop social skills and aid in the development of children and adolescents.
When is it?
Every Wednesday at 5pm starting June 9th, 2021
Who leads it?
Lauren is a National Board-Certified Counselor (NBCC) and is working towards attaining her license as a Clinical Trauma Specialist. She strives to create an environment where people can fully harness their passion, purpose, and practice resilience. She understands that life can throw some blows that feel impossible to come back from and loves to help children and adolescents tap into the resilience they have within themselves and create a life they’re exited for.
Thriveworks Social Groups is just one outlet for your child to experience peer friendship and grow developmentally. For more information, call us at 719-838-6383.