Finally, we can begin to rebuild from one exhausting and emotional year since the pandemic began. I enjoy how more and more people are receiving their vaccinations against the novel COVID-19 virus. The light at the end of the tunnel is no longer a train, but indeed the light. I have seen how many people are in completely different places than where they were before the pandemic and we as a society have grown stronger. That being said, this pandemic has definitely hit us in ways we couldn’t have even imagined. Businesses have closed, people have lost their homes, and loved ones have died. Sadly, in this new rebirth, we are still fighting disease that isn’t viral, but mental. Children’s Hospital Colorado has issued a state of emergency on our youth’s mental health. Children, who for the majority of their lives, have been conditioned to be physically around their peers. Since COVID hit, they were plucked from their schools and their friends to be placed in front of a computer screen for 7-8 hours a day with no other stimulus, but themselves. They had to adapt to this “new normal” and be forced to be secluded from the life they once knew. The human brain doesn’t fully mature until we are 25-26 years of age. We need social interaction with one another as well as both physical and mental stimulation. When a child has to quit the sport that they love and be isolated from their friends, most don’t know how to cope. According to the Children’s Hospital, they have seen a demand for behavioral health treatment increase by 90% within the past two years. Children are reporting anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation, and social disconnectedness. This can all be linked to the recent pandemic. “Our kids have run out of resilience – their tanks are empty”. Despite things getting better as it relates to COVID, kids have dealt with chronic stress for the past year that has interrupted their development. Now that they are being asked to start over again, they just don’t have the energy or the resources. They feel behind and don’t know how to catch up. Pediatric suicide is the number one diagnosis for patients visiting Children’s ER. We as a species are resilient and learn from tribulations.
I pray to God each day that we can all grow from this pandemic. God’s grace is so strong and I believe that we can utilize it to our advantage so that we can care for our younger generations. We need to support our young people during this tough time in their lives. Let us band together and spend extra time paying attention to our young people’s voices and love them.
“Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old, they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)