In an article in The Conversation (McArthur et al., 2021), factors such as ‘strict stay-at-home orders, repeated opening and closures of schools, social distancing from peers and other supports, limited or no access to sport and extracurricular activities, and many missed milestones such as graduation’ have all been cited as having a detrimental effect on youth mental health due to COVID-19. Dion Khlentzos, Senior Lecturer in Counselling at Excelsia College shares his thoughts about this concerning issue and the role that counsellors can play in a child’s life.
‘Young people in Australia have had it tough over the last two years. A press release from Camp Australia (2022) has documented the alarming rise in youth mental health problems since the start of the pandemic, with parents and school principals indicating their concerns about their children’s mental and physical health during this time. Particular concern was expressed by parents in the states with the longest lockdowns: Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. Children and teens have had much less opportunity than previously to experience the joy of connecting with other young people over these last couple of years.
In some cases, professional help may be required to help improve a young person’s mental health. In these cases, the parents may choose to seek counselling for their children. Counsellors can work with the parents, the child, or the whole family to make a well-rounded assessment of the young person’s mental health and overall functioning, followed by some counselling sessions to help provide awareness of the specific issues that may be hindering the young person’s healthy functioning,’ Dr Khlentzos explains.
If you are interested in being trained as a counsellor within a Christian world view, Excelsia College’s Master of Counselling course covers a wide range of issues relevant to working with people of all ages. Subjects include Counselling Theories and Models; Approaches to Mental Health; Relational Dynamics; Trauma, Grief and Loss; Group Process: Theory and Practice; Development and Diversity; and other relevant areas, including elective units such as Introduction to Counselling Children and Young People and Introduction to Family Systems and Couples. The Master of Counselling is accredited by the major national counselling bodies PACFA and ACA and gives students the opportunity to put their skills into practice through one of our counselling placements.
Camp Australia. (2022, March 22). Supporting children’s wellbeing critical to safeguard the next generation’s mental health. Camp Australia. campaustralia.com.au/blog/supporting-children-s-wellbeing-critical-to-safeguard-the-next-generation-s-mental-health
McArthur, B. A., Racine, N., & Madigan, S. (2021, August 10). Child and youth mental health problems have doubled during COVID-19. The Conversation. theconversation.com/child-and-youth-mental-health-problems-have-doubled-during-covid-19-162750