“My child has been dealing with anxiety and depression;
but things are getting worse. She is starting to self-harm and
her anxiety is making it difficult for her to attend school.
What can we do best to support our child?”
Winter holidays can be relaxing; but if you or a loved one has a tendency towards anxiety or depression, can increase during this time of year.
You can imagine the impact on a family when a child has a strong fear of heights. It can mean that the family cannot visit with friends or relatives that live in bigger buildings, or that the family changes locations for holidays to avoid airplanes or hotels with many floors. Keeping a parent close by can ease a child’s fear, but that can result in difficulty when separating to attend school and other activities. The child begins to worry about not having a parent close by to help them manage that fear. As routines and plans change to limit the fearful experiences, the level of concern for the whole family can grow.
Many children and teens have fears and worries from time to time, and these feelings can be normal, healthy responses to the developmental challenges they face. It is when the symptoms become persistent and begin to impact day-to-day routines, that as parents we need to be more concerned.
If you have concerns about your child or loved one, you can contact the counselling staff at Pacific Centre Family Services. We are here to support families better understand and manage the effects of anxiety and depression.
Here are some suggestions for parents:
- Keep communication with your child open. Talk about things you may notice or feelings they may be experiencing.
- Remain calm and patient when emotions are high. Kids need to know you can manage their big feelings.
- Work on healthy choices with respect to things like diet, exercise, sleep and screen time.
- Notice changes in your child’s behavior like withdrawal from peers, not participating in activities, or avoidance of situations or objects.
- Seek out information and support from professionals if you are concerned. And if you or your loved one is in urgent need please contact the Vancouver Island Crisis line at 1-888-494-3888.
Call or visit us today for more information about the PCFSA programs. Our GoWestShore Portal listing includes all of our contact information.