The pandemic has been tough on kids. Doctors are seeing more kids coping with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and substance use. The Academy of Pediatrics issued a state of national emergency in children’s mental health, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory in December calling it an urgent public health crisis.
And it’s not just mental health. Because children’s brains and bodies are still developing, high doses of stress and adversity – like we’re getting with the pandemic – can actually affect the way a child’s brain develops and put both their mental and physical health at greater risk.
California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris says there’s plenty of hope. Science shows that safe, stable, nurturing relationships can affect brain and body development in a positive way, and help buffer the negative effects of stress.
In this 7 minute interview with NPR, Dr. Burke Harris highlights why it’s so important to protect children from stress, what to focus on (knowing that parenting feels tougher than ever right now), and why “self-care is not selfish.”
Listen to the full interview for more on how we can protect the kids in our orbit.
Explore more tools and resources to help your kids here on Number Story.