Long-term illness and Mood (Secondary School)
Photo by Anastasia Vityukova on Unsplash
Any long-term illness can cause anxiety and low mood
- Understandably, children with long-term illness can sometimes 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.
What support is there for families?
Family therapy is sometimes offered via a local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, or via a local charity. If your child is an in-patient there may be a parent peer support group or you could start one if not. It is also worth looking at free Parenting groups provided by your local city council or local charities e.g in Bristol, the charity Off The Record have a parent group. Our pages on anxiety and low mood might be also useful for your child (or yourself)