Sad, stressed or scared? Have your questions answered in our new virtual studio

CBC Kids News • Published 2020-07-17 14:28
The deadline to submit questions has been extended to Monday, July 27.

We want to know how COVID-19 has made you feel. Scroll down to the bottom to learn how to participate

From closed schools to wearing masks, life looks pretty different since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s also affected us in ways we can’t see: It’s affected our mental health.

Youth psychologists say that the pandemic has increased depression among young people.

That’s why CBC Kids News is inviting you to ask questions if your mental health is suffering. (Scroll down to the bottom to learn how.)

Here’s a bit about why depression is increasing, signs of both anxiety and depression, and CBC Kids News’s call to action.

CBC Kids News is building a virtual reality set, here's what it looks like so far.

CBC Kids News is building a virtual reality set, where Elijah Sandiford will take your questions to an expert. (Image credit: fhernand/Spoke, Jamie McMahon/CBC)

The effect of COVID-19 

Carlton Duff, a youth psychologist from B.C., says some kids are feeling more sad lately due to COVID-19.

That’s because there are now fewer “protective activities” that are good ways of reducing depression.

Those kinds of activities include:

A young girl looks out a window sadly holding her phone. Kids Help Phone in B.C. says it has seen a dramatic increase in texts and calls from B.C. children, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the province's youth.

Kids Help Phone in B.C. says it has seen a dramatic increase in texts and calls from B.C. children, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on the province's youth. (Image credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com)

Duff says there’s a common misconception that depression is the result of something specific happening in a person’s life.

While that is partially true, he says oftentimes kids aren’t depressed about something in particular, but rather feel sad or down in general.

Not only that, but COVID-19 itself can be stressful on youth because it makes them worry about themselves and their loved ones, says youth psychologist Connie Scuccimarri, from Montreal.

It can also be stressful not knowing when the COVID-19 virus will go away.

But Scuccimarri emphasises that if you are feeling those worries, you are not alone.

Signs of depression or anxiety

Depression and anxiety are hard to define and understand — but there are signs you can watch out for.

Expets say, ask yourself these questions: Are the things you used to be interested in not fun anymore? Do your feelings make it really hard for you to eat, concentrate or sleep? Are you waking up in the middle of the night feeling sad or afraid? Are you crying more often? Are these feelings getting worse as time goes by?

What to do

Saying yes to these questions doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression or anxiety, but they may mean it’s time to talk to someone about how you feel.

You can talk to your parents about your concerns, or another adult that you trust. 

Some kids also talk to a counsellor or psychologist about how they’re feeling.

Don’t forget that Kids Help Phone is also always an option. You can live chat, text or call the counselling service any time.

A young boy sits with a counsellor during a session.

If you are feeling sad, stressed or anxious, experts say it might be worth talking to a psychologist about it. (Image credit: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

Simple things like making time to exercise, doing activities that don’t involve screens, and talking to friends can also help reduce some of those feelings.

What’s it like to reach out for help?

Something like Kids Help Phone can help provide immediate relief and guidance.

A psychologist, meanwhile, is someone who can help a person develop long-term strategies for “lasting changes,” Scuccimarri said.

“Not just temporary changes, that you feel good in the moment, but something that … helps people change their habits, change their thoughts.”

Duff agrees.

He says counsellors can be a great coach, to help “kids do better at feeling better.”

Duff also says a counsellor won’t make you feel bad about how you feel, they will just aim to listen and understand.

“It might make you feel really good to talk to someone about it,” he said.

Ask us anything 

Does COVID-19 make you feel stressed? Sad? Scared?

Tell us about it.

We are building a studio in virtual reality where CBC Kids News contributor Elijah Sandiford will take your questions or concerns to a mental health expert.

You may also get the chance to appear in our VR studio to ask your question.

Ask a parent or guardian for permission, then email your questions or concerns to cbckidsnews@cbc.ca by Monday, July 27.

A shot of CBC Kids News virtual reality studio as it gets built.

Send us your questions and concerns! You may also get the chance to join Elijah in our virtual reality studio to ask your questions. (Image credit: Jamie McMahon/CBC)

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