A national panel of health experts is recommending for the first time that children ages 8 and up be screened for anxiety — an issue that the pandemic has put a spotlight on. The CDC estimates that in 2020, nearly 6 million children were diagnosed with anxiety. And with the severity of the problem so apparent, the need for access to mental health care is even clearer.

However, access to the care children need can be difficult to find. Many parents are struggling to find the resources, tools, time and money to get their children the help they need. And since nearly 80% of chronic mental health conditions emerge in childhood, mental health services for children are absolutely a necessity.

How can we help children dealing with anxiety?

  • Know what to look for. Anxiety can show up in a variety of ways, including frequent stomach aches, a notable change in behavior or withdrawal from family activities. Knowing your child and their typical behavior, keep an eye out for differences and changes, both large and small.
  • Consider their background. Some children may have a family history of anxiety or other risk factors.
  • Encourage an open line of communication. Developing healthy habits at home can make a difference. Keeping an open dialogue at home, getting good sleep, eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise and finding opportunities to do what they love are great ways to support your child’s mental health.
  • If you’re worried, remember that you’re not alone. Finding the support your child needs can mean turning to their school for help. The earlier it’s identified that your child needs help, the better. Having access to mental health care available where children live, learn and play is essential, and there are resources to make sure we can get kids into the care that they need.
Kids and Anxiety: What are we doing to help?