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SSM Health specialist sees increase in anxiety, lonliness in kids due to pandemic

Britt Coolman
Britt Coolman(SSM Health)
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 4:46 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - While the slow return to “normalcy” is encouraging, the transition to hybrid learning and to in-person activities is causing some kids and teen anxiety, one SSM Health specialist says.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, behavioral health specialist Britt Coolman says she is seeing kids and teens struggling with increased anxiety around “normal” activities because they have not been a part of daily routines for so long.

Coolman suggests kids and teens give themselves time to transition back in and allow themselves to adjust to regular activities by practicing gradual exposure to things they used to do pre-pandemic.

She also says increased loneliness is a common concern she has also seen recently as kids and teens are feeling disconnected from peers and friends.

“I just want to normalize that hugely and say how people are not alone in that feeling and it’s been so difficult to maintain the same level of social interaction and relationships that we’ve had before,” Coolman said. “So many kids are feeling like they are the only ones losing contact with people but they’re not, they’re in the common boat.”

Coolman suggests kids and teens take slow steps when reaching back out to friends.

“My guess is that your friends may have lost contact with you and may be feeling the same way you are feeling,” she said.

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