Primary - Longterm illness and mood

Long-term illness and mood (Primary School)

Any long-term illness is bound to have an effect on your mood. Some children with longterm illness can end up feeling depressed, anxious or have difficulty sleeping. It can quickly become a vicious circle as the low mood or anxiety have a “knock-on effect” on their illness. Anxiety, for example, can cause additional physical symptoms such as feeling sick, sleeping badly or feeling very tired.

The importance of managing the psychological effects of long-term physical illness is becoming more widely understood and accepted. Many hospitals have psychologists for certain conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis or chronic fatigue syndrome. For many long-term conditions, it might be helpful to look at what you and your child can do to help your child’s mood rather than only focusing on the physical health problem. This might be practical things like looking at food, exercise and sleep as well as psychological support. Family therapy can be helpful as it is often hard for parents and siblings as well. 

Family therapy is sometimes offered via a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, or via a local charity. It is also worth looking at free Parent support groups provided by your local city council or local charities.

Our pages on anxiety and low mood might be also useful for your child (or yourself)

Chronic physical illness
General advice with some useful links and a couple of real-life stories can be found here

Chronic illness and children
This is a US website so the resources aren’t relevant but the advice is sensible. It is written by a parent who has child with longstanding ill-health. Find it here

Advice on parenting disabled children
Also useful for parents of children with other long-term conditions.


Primary - Longterm illness and mood

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