Helping Struggling Tweens: Child Psychiatric Services

If your pre-teen ("tween") has been struggling to cope with COVID complications, grief, anxiety, depression, or mood swings, child psychiatric services can provide them with the mental health care they need. Here are some potential warning signs and strategies you can use to help your tween weather turbulent mental health storms.

COVID Complications

The last year has been less about what is and more about what it isn't. From isolation to a dissolving of routines, rituals, and milestones, your tween might be struggling with many conflicting emotions related to COVID complications.

There's a good chance that your tween is confronting grief on multiple fronts. If your child knew a victim of the COVID pandemic they might ask questions about mortality and express anxiety about their health. For instance, if you notice that your tween is scared to interact with their friends or individuals outside of your home, it might be an indication of internalizing their anxiety and grief.

Child psychiatric services can connect them with a grief counselor or teen support group to help them process their emotions. If your tween has prolonged periods of anxiety and/or frequent bouts of withdrawal, let them know that it's okay to feel like things aren't okay. In many cases, you can help them by listening to their concerns and encouraging them to speak with a trained professional.

Mood Swings

The uncertainty of the COVID reality can make tweens feel directionless and powerless. This uncertainty, when coupled with hormonal changes, can cause rapid mood swings. Emotions aren't always rational or controllable. If you notice that your tween frequently oscillates between extreme emotional highs and lows, it can be helpful to strategize ways to safely vent pent-up emotional energy.  For instance, connecting psychical movement with emotional release can promote fitness and channel emotional energy positively.

Depending on your tweens fitness preferences, this can mean walking, jogging, biking, or lifting weights. The key to making this connection work is letting your tween choose the physical movement. You can support their choice by participating in the physical movement with them.


Incidents of depression have increased during the COVID pandemic. For tweens, feelings of hopelessness and apathy can quickly spiral into self-harm and suicidal ideations. If your tween expresses self-harm or suicidal ideations, you should always take them seriously. If you live in a household with a firearm, make sure that it's removed or locked up. Also, you may want to lock away prescription medications. Child psychiatric services can help your tween work through their depression and provide treatment options to deal with their situation.

To learn more, contact services like Les Linet MD.