Kid behind fence

Sharing – Addressing Childhood Anxiety as Early as Kindergarten Could Reduce Its Harmful Impacts

The results of this study seem consistent with similar work done in the US and elsewhere. Early interventions matter.

“We are researchers with the Offord Centre for Child Studies in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster University. With colleagues, we undertook a population-wide study of kindergarten-age children attending public schools across Canada between 2004 and 2015. To our knowledge, this study provided the first Canada-wide snapshot of anxiety symptoms among children as they enter school.

Our results demonstrate that a child showing signs of anxiety in kindergarten should not be ignored. Children with elevated symptoms of anxiety are three to six times more likely to be vulnerable in other areas of their development than those with very few of these symptoms.”

Kids who show the signs of struggling with mental health issues do a heck of a lot better if we intervene. Sadly, we don’t do it enough. Sometimes it’s because we don’t have any intervention to offer them. There are no resources available to far too many families. Other times parents and adults are afraid to look for help due to the stigma associated with mental health issues, hoping the kid will grow out of it.

Whether it is due to stigma or a lack of resources, what we wind up with is many kids growing up with untreated anxiety, depression, bipolar, and even things like schizophrenia. Their symptoms, untreated and unrecognized for years, continue to get worse. The struggles with their mental health prevent them from developing in several areas, leading to even more stress and anxiety well into adulthood. Which makes things even worse.

The benefits of early intervention are almost endless. More kids getting help early would mean fewer adults growing up after years of untreated issues, which might mean fewer people lacking housing, in jail, struggling with addiction, etc. It makes business sense and is just a compassionate thing to do.

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