This is an informational feature supported by the Pottawatomie County Commission to assist in providing educational information regarding the COVID-19 virus to citizens. Personal thanks to Pawnee Mental Health and the Pottawatomie County Health Department fortheir help in providing resources.
Mental Health amidst a pandemic
Many people may not understand how people affected by the stressors of everyday life can feel down and depressed in a normal situation. With the added pressure and frustration of a national health crisis, educational uncertainty, and political issues, these stressors are compounded. Different people face these issues in different ways. Bruce Johnson, Director of the Pawnee Mental Health System Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) shares, if you are someone you know/loves is feeling “Hopeless (nothing’s ever going to change); Helpless (things are bad and there’s nothing I can do about it); Worthless (nobody cares anyways), take heed. These are the three ‘feeling’ components of suicide. Reach out to the person, let them know you are there for them, have them call the CSU at 800-609-2002 or come in person to visit with a crisis clinician at 1558 Hayes Dr., Manhattan.
Adults are most definitely not the only ones whose mental health suffers. The current conditions with quarantines or isolations, hybrid or on-line schooling, the inability to get close with friends and family, can definitely affect the emotions and mental well-being of children. Dr. Ashley Miller, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, BC Children’s Hospital wrote a blog title “Helping children and teens cope with social isolation” in May 2020. Her article includes numerous ideas and suggestions to assist children – visit https://keltymentalhealth.ca/blog/2020/05/helping-children-and-teens-cope-social-isolation to learn more. Included in her recommendations is to validate a child’s feeling first. Then you may provide “realistic” information and the child is better able to take in the information. Help them to understand there is nothing wrong with feeling disappointed, angry, sad, or any other emotion during this time.
How can you help your children handle these feelings? These suggestions apply to children of all ages. Encourage kids to help around the house, or help others. Volunteering in a safe environment allows them to socialize, and feel needed. If they cannot get out, assist them in virtual meetings with friends and family members. Help your children feel more secure. It may cost you an extra five minutes of cuddle time, but if it helps your child feel safe, it is worth it. When they do go out, help them to understand the need to practice the basic mitigation techniques (mask, 6’ physical distancing, frequent handwashing), and demonstrate those practices yourself daily.