Valley psychiatrist encourages talking to anxious teens about COVID vaccine
PHOENIX – Trusted sources and doctors alike have comforted parents who are uneasy about their child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
But what about teens who are anxious about getting the vaccine?
Dr. Srinivas Dannaram, a psychiatrist with Banner Behavioral Health Hospital in Scottsdale, encourages parents to have an open conversation with their child about receiving the vaccine.
“Ask them what they know about the vaccine first, and based on their understanding and level of knowledge, pitch on that,” Dannaram told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.
He also suggested parents do their homework prior to sitting down to chat with their child about the vaccine.
The more prepared you are to answer their questions, the more they are likely to be comfortable with the idea of vaccination.
Dannaram suggested that parents rely on trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food and Drug Administration for information about the vaccine.
If parents are asked a question they don’t know the answer to, the parent and their child can then find the answer together.
Anxiety in teens isn’t anything new, but with many questioning the vaccine, it’s likely to impact the youth who are no stranger to worrying.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder.
These numbers have been rising steadily as between 2007 and 2012, anxiety disorders in children and teens went up 20%.
Dannaram believes the pandemic will only make those numbers worse.
“They lost some venues that they can vent out some anxieties and that added to stress,” he said.
On top of that, teenagers’ lives changed overnight.
The lack of socialization could very likely hinder many teens’ next developmental process as many have gotten used to isolation.
If you believe your child is struggling with their mental health, Dannaram encourages parents to sit down and have an open and understanding discussion with their child about how to help them combat their anxieties.