For many, the holidays bring feelings of joy, warmth, and cheer. But for others, this time of year can be difficult. Various stressors can trigger mental health issues during this time, often referred to as the holiday blues. Social pressures, family issues, and economic hardship can all evoke feelings of anxiety and depression for children during the holiday season.
According to the Child Mind Institute, 50% of all mental illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24. Today’s children are already dealing with academic pressure, cyberbullying, substance abuse, depression, and other issues, and the holiday season only adds further stress for some.
The change in daily routine can also take a toll. Between time off from school, holiday events, and even seasonal factors such as the weather and decreasing daylight, the shift in a child’s day-to-day norm can have a negative impact. The increase in downtime can also result in more time spent on social media, where children may compare themselves to peers and influencers. This can increase negative thoughts, which has the potential to lead to self-harm, cyberbullying, and thoughts of suicide.
It’s imperative that we make sure children have the tools to cope with these feelings. If you see signs of any of these mental health issues with students or children over the holiday season, here are some resources that may help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line, or text HOME to 741741