Youth Living with Sickle Cell Disease
Youth with sickle cell disease (SCD) face challenges their peers without the disease may never know. These challenges range from missing days of school, to not able to participate in some physical activities to experiencing stigma due to delayed puberty, stroke, yellow eyes, bone and joint damage, and frequent hospitalizations, etc.
Furthermore, due to sickle cell disease complications, some may not be able to achieve as they would like to and underachievement may also trigger anxiety, fear, and other mental health-related issues.
Mental Health for Youth with Sickle Cell Disease
Where family members/caregivers are not sure if psychological help is necessary, a professional assessment should be sought, to make sure the youth is not in danger of mental illness and to ensure improved quality of life, it is important that family members/caregivers nurture their youth providing assurance, guidance, and evidence-informed support.
Youth must also be educated on the importance of optimal disease management activities inclusive of taking prescribed medications, drinking fluids, avoiding extreme changes in temperature, eating a well-balanced diet, and engaging in behaviours that help prevent infections (e.g. hand washing, avoiding children who are sick).
It is also important to note that individuals with sickle cell disease are not cut out for strenuous, physical work- as such, emphasis must be placed on excelling academically.
For school-related resources on sickle cell disease, visit: https://sicklecellanemia.ca/schools
This page is dedicated to youth in their journey with sickle cell disease.