Local health expert predicts summer to take a toll on children’s mental health

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — A viral pandemic, months of social isolation and a fight against racial injustice all at the same time. A local health expert says this summer is going to take a toll on everyone’s mental health — especially children and teenagers.

“We’re going to see a sharp increase in the need for child behavioral health services in the fall,” said Dr. Jason Jones, medical director and psychiatrist at Family Service of the Piedmont.

Jones is already seeing more patients reach out to Family Service of the Piedmont with concerns about mental health.

“This is a very unusual time for children and families in our community,” Jones said.

He is finding children and teens already diagnosed with behavioral disorders are acting out more, like disobeying parents and picking fights with siblings. Children without a prior diagnosis are experiencing anxiety and depression.

“This is going to be a difficult time and they should reach out for supports in their community,” Jones said.

Jones suggests reaching out to local organizations, extended family members or someone trusted to talk to. Don’t suffer in silence.

“Try to have as much of a summer as you can have under the circumstances,” Jones said.

If you and your kids have been cooped up for weeks, Jones also recommends exercise to help relieve stress and anxiety. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week can make a huge difference.

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