Before COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control estimated up to one in five children in the U.S. will experience a mental disorder in any given year; 4.4 million kids ages 3–17 had diagnosed anxiety. A year of pandemic stress, closed schools and distance from peers and family has contributed to a spike in young people struggling with their mental health.
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It may be too soon to know how the pandemic is affecting children mentally. But Santa Rosa psychiatrist Anish Shah, who worked with children who lost their homes in the 2017 and 2019 North Bay wildfires, says that kids living through COVID-19 may have similar mental health symptoms to wildfire victims.
One Bay Area Mom tells her story of raising a child with special needs.