Shropshire Star comment: Youngsters must get whatever help they need post pandemic

Youngsters have suffered enormously during the pandemic. The absence of school for long periods has created an attainment gap. That, coupled with isolation and the negative effects of being couped up in bedrooms, has created a mental health crisis.

A Generic Stock Photo to illustrate a stressed child being comforted
A Generic Stock Photo to illustrate a stressed child being comforted

Little wonder that more and more children require treatment for mental health issues as they are expected to catch up quickly and put behind them the trauma they’ve endured.

Youngsters don’t have the voice that adults have. They find it more difficult to articulate their anxieties and fears. They are easily overlooked as society focuses on such big ticket issues as the economy or the numbers of job losses and company failures since the start of the pandemic.

Yet we must realise that the younger generation is our future and youngsters require every incentive to get back on their feet.

We must recognise the devastating effects that have been caused by the disruption to their routines and by the lack of opportunity during the past 14 months.

While issues of mental health and children affect those from all walks of life, lockdown has been particularly tough on those with special needs. If we consider children with conditions like autism, where routine and structure are fundamentally important, we can start to see how damaging recent months have been.

Many children are fairly robust and can adapt and get on with life. But others need help. It is key that all children are given help to adapt now that we are hopefully back to more normal times – that may be just a reassuring word from a teacher or it may be full intervention by specialist mental health teams.

The full damage caused to our younger generation will only become clear in years come but we owe it to them to offer the support they need. With children safely back in schools, parents must work together with teachers and those with specialist skills to acknowledge difficulties and find solutions. More empathy and understanding is a start point, while reasonableness and kindness are equally important.

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