Wearing masks does not negatively affect children’s health, psychologist says

Psychologist says it’s isolation, not masks, that drives feelings of despair.
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 11:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2021 at 7:06 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There are concerns from parents that mask-wearing can affect children negatively, and of course everyone wants to see children smile.

Parents are divided on supporting mask-wearing in schools this fall, and one of those reasons has to do with their child’s feelings.

“Putting on a mask, having somebody wear a mask, having teenagers wear a mask all day long, that’s only going to exacerbate any feelings of despair or depression,” said Shain Armstrong, a Trussville parent in an interview last week about masks.

We took that concern to an expert. Psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow says masks and despair are not correlated.

“There is no evidence that masking up causes psychological damage or problems in children,” said Dr. Klapow.

He says if children show irritation, there’s likely a reason.

“Most of what they’re driving in terms of their behavior has everything to do with what adults are modeling,” said Dr. Klapow.

One thing that can hurt a student’s feelings is teasing, which has been reported over masks.

“That is a very sad consequence of this public health emergency, that children are being teased for wearing masks,” he said.

He encouraged talking to children to find out if they are teasing other children, or being teased, and to work to stop it. Dr. Josh says that talking to your student can help, and you might be surprised how easily they understand a mask mandate.

“Children of all forms of human beings, are the most resilient, the most adaptable, and the least likely to protest or to be noncompliant with wearing a piece of cloth over our faces to protect others,” he added.

Dr. Klapow says if you are noticing signs of depression in your child, please reach out to their doctor and consider counseling quickly.

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