By: Krystle Crossman
Many families move multiple times while their children are still in school, especially people in the armed forces. When they move they often have to place their children into a new school in the new district that they are moving to. Studies are showing that children who change schools more than three times are 60% more likely to see symptoms of psychosis by age 12. These symptoms include having delusions and hearing voices that aren’t there.
The studies have not shown how moving schools causes this directly but they have found that the two are linked. Mental health researcher Dr. Swaran Singh says that being the new kid at school can make kids feel excluded and can make them feel vulnerable because they have to work to make new friends all over again. This could lead to mental breakdowns, especially in younger children.
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children took a group of 14,000 pregnant women and monitored them and their children up to the age of 12. From this group 6,500 children were asked questions about different psychosis symptoms that are seen in children such as hallucinations. Of the 6,500 that were interviewed roughly 5.6% had said that they experienced mild hallucinations and delusions. Another 8.1% reported having suspected symptoms. It may seem like a high number but most of the time these symptoms disappear before they turn into full blown psychosis.
Other children who hadn’t necessarily changed schools often but were bullied at their current schools were experiencing some of the symptoms as well leading researchers to believe that perhaps the feeling of being an outsider and the stress that comes with it is the solid link.