Covid anxiety: Child 'asking if he's going to die'

By Sarah Easedale
BBC Wales news

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image copyrightJane Griffiths
image captionJane Griffiths and her family have been hit hard by the pandemic

A mother says one of her children has been asking if he is going to die, as a survey shows almost half of children are struggling with anxiety.

Jane Griffiths, 47, said her four children had all been affected by the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as research for a children's charity showed more than half of children believe their parents are worried about making Christmas nice.

More than a third were worried about getting Covid-19 and dying.

Of the 1,000 children asked, 47% said they were experiencing anxiety.

Ms Griffiths, from Connah's Quay in Flintshire, said her children's stress increased after her husband Deion lost his job at the local paper mill and money became tight.

"My husband was laid off and we weren't entitled to furlough because he was with an agency," she said.

"It has been difficult... you have to cut back and not take the children to as many places.

"They know they won't get the same [for Christmas].

"Christmas is all about family anyway. That's the main thing."

How is Covid anxiety affecting children?

Brigitte Gater, director of Action for Children Wales which conducted the research with YouGov, said the pandemic has plunged new families into poverty.

"Where children were used to seeing their parents going to work, that new wave of parents are spending their first Christmas on Universal Credit and really struggling with making ends meet," she said.

"Making sure that there's toys, presents, Christmas is going to be ok, at the same time as utilities, rent having to be paid, so there's a lot of anxiety about eviction and borrowing money over this time, just to make it a nice time for children.

"Some of the parents we surveyed said that if they could, they would cancel Christmas this year."

image captionFather Dominic Cawdell runs a weekly food club which also helps buy Christmas presents for children

Father Dominic Cawdell, of St Peter's Church in Holywell, runs a weekly food club where people can buy up to 15 items for £2 and helps find Christmas presents for children.

He said people were "anxious about getting sick, they're anxious about their children getting sick, they're anxious about their finances because many people who only work occasionally or whose work isn't particularly secure haven't been able to take advantage of government schemes".

"Children are amazingly perceptive and they pick up on their parents' anxieties... it's even bigger for them, they don't understand it, they just know their whole world has changed," he added.

image captionAnita Igbinoba lost her job in a holiday camp as a result of the pandemic

One of the food club customers, Anita Igbinoba who has two young daughters, said there was a lot of worry in her household after her job in a holiday camp ended.

"Panicking, pressure, children asking... I can't get them as much, they feel the anxiety and the pressure of it. It is upsetting really," she said.

"When they're handwashing, sanitising, it's become a big control thing."

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