Dr Joanne Paul, Regional Coordinator for Emergency Medical Services, Ministry of Health.

Regional Coordinator for Emergency Medical Services, Dr Joanne Paul, is advising parents to be alert to signs their children may be suffering with depression or anxiety.

Speaking on today’s edition of CNC3’s The Morning Brew, Dr Paul reminded parents of the need to monitor their children’s mental health, especially during these stressful times.

According to Dr Paul, some children under 10 years of age, when they are anxious, tend to be clingy, or they may be prone to crying easily.  But there are children who would be very quiet, distant and disconnected, burying themselves in their devices, or having difficulties with school.

She recommends asking your child leading questions that would get them to describe what they believe is a perfect day or a perfect world for them and looking closely at their responses for clues as to their state of mind.

Dr Paul says while adolescents typically prefer the company of their peers (rather than that of their parents), and moodiness is a normal part of being a teenager, she advises parents to pay attention to those mood swings.

“If you notice any changes in your child’s mental health, seek medical advice,” she urges.

She also encourages parents to regularly carve out quality time with their children, which would make it easier to spot any changes in their behaviour.