PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Many people are struggling with new feelings of depression and anxiety through the pandemic, including children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts were way up in 2020. That comes with the isolation and loneliness for many people who haven’t been to work or school in almost a year.
“Kids want to hug and touch and do all those things and it’s going to be a little while before we’re able to do those things again,” said Rosanne Marmor, who runs Pulse Wellness in Portland.
One of the most common questions is: how do you know if your kid is going through a hard time, or experiencing something more serious?
“When we see our children changing a behavior, they’re sleeping more, they’re in their room more, they’re isolating more, they’re eating less or eating differently, they’re not spending as much time with you, they’re really angry, those are signs that something is changing or shifting for them,” Marmor said.
Lines For Life in Portland, which runs a number of crisis lines for people who need to talk to someone, says if you notice these changes, don’t be afraid to ask your child about what they’re going through.
“Research shows us that one trusted adult in a young person’s life is a huge protective factor for suicide,” said Kahae Rikeman, the school suicide prevention and wellness manager for Lines For Life.
Marmor says a good way to talk about it is during an activity like a walk or car ride, where you can be next to your child during the conversation, instead of face-to-face.
“It is okay to say are you feeling depressed? Are you feeling suicidal? You get to ask your child that. You’re not planting that in their head. If they aren’t, they’ll tell you they aren’t and if they are, you gave them an opportunity to speak their truth,” she said.
And if you see your kids are having a really hard time, there are resources available. Lines For Life says a good starting point is their Oregon Youth Line, where young folks can talk to a peer about the issues they’re going through.
“You don’t have to be at level 10 crisis to call a crisis line. You can call even before then and just have a supportive, compassionate ear to talk to before you get up to that level 10 crisis level,” said Rikeman.
For mental health or emotional distress support or resources, text 273TALK to 839863 or for immediate support at any hour, call 1-800-273-8255 or for the Oregon YouthLine call 1-877-968-8491