Counselors address anxiety within children amid the pandemic

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A counselor is saying she is seeing many more children with anxiety and she is seeing much younger kids.

Marilee Johnson is a therapist with child and family counseling of Champaign. She’s been a counselor for about 10 years.

She said it is a combination of all of the uncertainties, kids being afraid of getting sick, and afraid to get anyone in their family sick.

She said kids have essentially been trained to avoid people over the last year. Now, they’re being asked to do the opposite.

She said it’s all heightened right now, with school starting back up. Many kids haven’t been in a classroom or around groups for over a year. She said going back to normal is what’s causing a lot of issues.

“Certainly exasperated anxiety, for sure, sometimes depression too, but mostly anxiety,” she said. “We’ve seen some pretty hard cases, and it’s hard to see people suffer with this anxiety.”

She said parents can help them by getting them used to school by either driving them by or going to play on the playground and helping them not to avoid what they are anxious about because that can cause more anxiety.

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