A worried mum said her son’s mental health is deteriorating in lockdown (Picture: Getty)
A worried mum said her five-year-old son is angry and sad ‘all the time’ after his mental health ‘took a nosedive’ during lockdown.
Jake – not his real name – is having ‘multiple meltdowns a day’ over ‘nothing’ and is ‘terrified of going near people’.
His mum said being stuck at home all day with his parents and one-year-old sister has triggered a change in his behaviour with him frequently becoming violent.
‘He seems so angry and sad so much of the time,’ said Charlotte, from Warwickshire, whose name has also been changed.
‘It’s not so much the intensity of the incidents – though they are awful – but the frequency.
‘Multiple times per day we have full-on meltdowns over nothing.
‘Screaming at us, shouting at us, throwing things and pushing over furniture, punching things and, recently, punching us.
‘The end feels so far away and my son’s mental health is really suffering. I worry constantly about the long-term effects.’
Charlotte said the pandemic has also made Jake ‘terrified’ of going near other people.
He recently even refused to touch his grandmother despite the family forming a support bubble with her.
‘We isolated for weeks and explained to him that it would be OK for them to have contact from now on, but despite this he still refuses to go near her,’ said Charlotte.
‘He won’t touch her or hug her and is extremely anxious that by doing so he’ll catch Covid or pass it on.’
The mother’s comments come ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week starting on February 1st.
There are fears about the impact of school closures on mental wellbeing (Picture: Reuters)
The campaign has been running for seven years but hopes to attract more attention than ever amid signs the coronavirus crisis is heavily impacting childrens’ wellbeing.
Research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) and the Prince’s Trust found the number of young people with a probable mental illness rose from one in nine in 2017 to one in six during the pandemic.
Charlotte said she noticed Jake’s mental health was suffering from school closures during the first lockdown ‘when he would just cry and shout at me, bored and lonely and sad’.
After going back to the classroom his behaviour and emotional state improved and he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to be with his friends.
But the situation regressed when schools shut again.
‘It’s so unnatural for him to not have playmates… it absolutely breaks my heart,’ said Charlotte.
She added: ‘I know we are not alone.
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‘I see friends and other mothers online talking about their children’s strange new behaviours.
‘Previously happy and calm children swearing, throwing things, developing tics, not sleeping, being angry, emotional, defiant.
‘I don’t know what the solution is, but it does worry me a lot.’
For Charlotte, Jake’s behaviour is compounded by her own mental health struggles.
She has suffered from post-natal depression and is now taking antidepressants.
She said: ‘My nerves are shot from his constant rages and trying to do the right thing to make him feel calm and happy – something I seem completely unable to do.
‘Often, I feel incredibly claustrophobic. There’s nowhere else to go, I just have to keep trudging on, with no chance of any reprieve.’
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