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COVID-19 could lead to undiagnosed mental illness in children, therapist says

Posted at 8:09 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 20:09:28-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A Boca Raton therapist says the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to mental health disorders being undiagnosed in children.

For Shannon Moyel, her early childhood memories are good

“I was a very playful person, I was very happy," Moyel said.

The now 20-year-old says it was middle school when her life took a dark turn.

“Hit rock bottom pretty fast towards the end of 6th grade and then there was a thought in the back of my head, what do you have to lose? And that was like the first time that I started self-harm and all of that really caught up with me," Moyel said.

The next four years it only got worse.

“I was hospitalized three times. They were all Baker Acts," Moyel said.

And after being misdiagnosed with depression and bi-polar disorder, Shannon says she learned she has borderline personality disorder.

"It’s kind of like I’m not fighting this invisible illness anymore, there’s a name to it," Moyel said.

"It was really scary for us because up until that point she was pretty normal," said Registered social worker and therapist at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches, Allison Moyel. Moyel says her daughter's diagnosis inspired her to change careers and help other children. She says the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to more children being misdiagnosed.

“A lot of parents are in denial and they will invalidate their child. They’ll say oh, you’ll get over it. This is happening to everybody, this pandemic and it’s normal to be anxious about this and they may discount what they are going through," Allison Moyel said.

She says there are warning signs

“Your teen not being able to get out of bed, not taking a shower, not paying attention to hygiene those are signs of maybe a severe depression. So, scared or the anxiety is so bad, they don’t want to go to school or they can’t do things," Moyel said.

Shannon who is following in her mom’s footsteps and now pursuing her master's degree in social work says she wants children to know it’s okay to speak up.

"Don’t be afraid to seek help," said Shannon Moyel.