By Roseann Moring
Flatwater Free Press 

The Kids Aren't OK:

Mental health issues skyrocketed for Nebraska children during pandemic


April 21, 2022

Alex Carter | Flatwater Free Press

Stress relief • Elijah (right), with his younger brother Malachi. Doing hands-on activities helps Elijah with his anxiety, his parents say.

Six-year-old Elijah Wastell started feeling anxious last fall.

It came hard for the Omaha kindergartener at bedtime. His parents tried breathing exercises. They attempted to build his confidence.

The anxiety got worse.

It got to the point where "he wanted to be in bed with a blanket over his head before the sun went down, which can be tricky in September," said mother Anna Wastell.

Elijah himself didn't tie his newfound anxiety to the pandemic that has altered the lives of everyone – including children – over the past two years.

But experts say cases like Elijah's have become increasi...

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