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Lisa Black

The COVID-19 pandemic has created profound challenges for communities, families, and individuals, leading to a range of emotional and behavioral responses. In updated guidance, “Interim Guidance on Supporting the Emotional and Behavioral Health Needs of Children, Adolescents, and Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights the impact the pandemic is having on the emotional and behavioral health of children and adolescents, and outlines strategies for pediatricians to address problems that may manifest from additional stress. Populations with a higher baseline risk, such as historically under-resourced communities, those facing inequities, and children and youth with special health care needs, may be especially vulnerable. The impact of the pandemic is compounded by isolation and an interruption in the support and service systems families rely on, including school, health care services, and other community supports. The updated guidance includes more information on the challenges of remote learning, which can increase stress for some families.  In addition to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color due to structural racism, the updated guidance notes that COVID-19 also has contributed to increased racism and xenophobia against Chinese Americans. Some children may have significant anxiety about themselves or their loved ones getting COVID-19. The AAP recommends pediatricians should offer families guidance to support their children’s emotional needs based on their stage of development. Pediatricians should follow-up on children and teens experiencing emotional challenges, refer when needed for additional treatment, and work to connect families with community resources. 

For information, contact AAP Public Affairs.

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