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How to Provide Support During COVID-19

Dr. Megan Mooney, TPA President, Megan A. Mooney, PhD, PLLC

she/her/hers

 

There is a lot of information floating around about ways to take care of ourselves and others in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information below is intended to be a helpful compilation of resources that I have relied on recently, and most of it is directly cited from the sources listed. Please see the original sources for more in-depth information.

 

Supporting Yourself1

Keep things in perspective. Remind yourself that most people who contract COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms and that work is being done to help people who may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Get the facts. Focus on data and research as you follow news reports about the coronavirus. Rely on reputable sources such as the CDC, WHO, TXDSHS, and your county health authority.

Keep connected. Maintain your social networks by phone, email, texting, and social media platforms. This allow space to share feelings and relieve stress. 

Seek additional help. Individuals who feel an anxiety or sadness for a long period of time that adversely affect their job performance or interpersonal relationships should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional.

 

Supporting Your Family1,2

Plan how you want to discuss COVID-19 with your family. Be sure to include basic information including:

  • What the current disease outbreak is
  • How it is contracted
  • What are the possible dangers
  • Protective steps being taken in the community/nation/global community
  • Protective steps everyone in the family can take

Communicate with your children. Discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with honest and age-appropriate information. Parents should help children develop and stick to routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own feelings during this time.

Encourage family members to ask questions and give honest, age-appropriate answers.

Develop a plan for maintaining contact with friends and family members via telephone and internet.

Check in with your children’s school about online schedules and expectations.

 

Supporting Your Household3

As a family, you can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family during a COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Stay informed and in touch
    • Get up-to-date information about local COVID-19 activity from public health officials
    • Talk with your neighbors about their plans
    • Create a list of local organizations that your family can contact in case you need additional help or information
    • Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbors, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources

Prepare for possible illness

  • Consider members of the household that may be at greater risk
  • Choose a room in your house that can be used to separate sick household members from others

Take everyday preventive steps

  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces

Watch for symptoms and if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.

 

Supporting Children4,5

“Remain calm and reassuring. Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

Make yourself available to listen and to talk. Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.

Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma. Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity.

Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online. Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19.

Provide information that is honest and accurate. Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.”

 

“Children that may be at particular risk for problems include those who have:

  • anxiety;
  • depression or suicidal ideation;
  • learning and attention disorders;
  • families that have lost jobs or income;
  • loved ones particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus;
  • a caregiver who is a healthcare worker or in another occupation where they are exposed to the virus or are being asked to respond in an intense way;
  • less supervision because of caregivers’ work.”

 

Sources

1. https://www.apa.org/practice/programs/dmhi/research-information/pandemics

2. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-caregiver-guide-to-helping-families-cope-with-the-coronavirus-disease-2019

3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/checklist-household-ready.html

4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fcommunity%2Fschools-childcare%2Ftalking-with-children.html

5. https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/a-trauma-informed-approach-to-teaching-through-coronavirus

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