POTTAWATOMIE CO., Kan. (WIBW) – Mental health is a stressor in many lives which can be made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pottawatomie County Public Information Officer Crystal Malchose says many residents may not understand the effect of the stressors of everyday life and how they can make people feel depressed in normal situations. She said with the added pressure and frustrations of a national health crisis bringing educational uncertainty and political issues, stressors can seem even more insurmountable.
Bruce Johnson, Director of the Pawnee Mental Health System Crisis Stabilization Unit says if loved ones are feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless, to take heed. He said these are the three feeling components of suicide. He said to reach out to the person and let them know the people they love 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., in Manhattan.
According to Malchose, adults are not the only ones suffering from mental health conditions. She said with current conditions, quarantines and isolations, hybrid and online schooling and the inability to get close to family and friends can all definitely affect the emotions and mental well-being of children.
Malchose said Dr. Ashley Miller, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from BC Children’s Hospital wrote a blog titled “Helping children and teens cope with social isolation” in May of 2020. She said the article includes various ideas and suggestions to help children. She said included in the recommendations is to validate a child’s feelings first. She said then parents may provide “realistic” information and the child is able to better take the information in. She said to help kids to understand there is nothing wrong with feeling disappointed, angry, or sad during this time.
According to Malchose, the suggestions apply to kids of all ages. She said to encourage kids to help around the house or help others. She said volunteering gin a safe environment allows them to socialize and feel needed. She said if kids can’t go out, to help them have virtual meetings with friends and family members. She said to help children feel more secure. She said when kids do go out, to help them understand the need to practice basic COVID-19 mitigation techniques like wearing masks and frequent handwashing while demonstrating the practices yourself.
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