by Jean Rhodes
COVID-19 has deeply affected the lives of children, many of whom are struggling to understand what is happening in their families and communities. They may be grieving losses, missing friends, worried about loved ones, and struggling to hold it together. And, just when emotional support is most needed, school closings have cut off an essential life line for mental health care. Indeed, the school counselors, nurses, and social workers are typically the first line of defense for children who are struggling emotionally. Nearly all students who ever obtain mental health services receive them at school. American youth are twenty times more likely to receive their mental health care in schools than in mental health centers in their communities. Volunteer mentors and other caring adults can help to compensate for this lost support, guidance, and extend the support of overburdened families.
To this end, the Center for Anxiety has really stepped up, providing useful articles that can be helpful in discussing COVID-19 and its effects with young people. This includes a comic strip of advice that NPR education reporter compiled by Cory Turner after asking experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus. To make his comic, he drew on his interviews with Tara Powell at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Joy Osofsky at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and Krystal Lewis at the National Institute of Mental Health.
The Center for Anxiety has also compiled some additional articles and resources that can be helpful in discussing COVID-19
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus – Child Mind Institute
- Talking to Kids about COVID-19 – US Center for Disease Control
- Talking to Child/Teen about Coronavirus – Anxiety & Depression Association of America
Likewise, education systems, from preschools to universities, are being affected by the pandemic with COVID-19 with students and their parents struggling to adjust to online learning. The Center for Anxiety has also curated helpful articles that parents, mentors, and other caring adults can use to provide support for students.
- Academic Classroom Resources
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- RULER E-Learning Tools
- Free Ivy League Courses Online For Adults
Many children and families may be also experiencing cabin fever and looking for new activities. The Center has curated kid-friendly sites that provide virtual access to museums, zoos, and other interesting places.
- Google Arts and Culture
- Great Wall of China Virtual Tour
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Tour/Collection
- Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam
- National Aquarium Baltimore
Finally, the Center has provided articles with expert advice for helping young people reduce their anxiety and uncertainty related to COVID-19.
- 8 Ways to Reduce Corona Virus Anxiety – Prevention Magazine
- Managing Anxiety and Stress – US Center for Disease Control
- Managing COVID-19: Expert Tips – Anxiety & Depression Association of America
- Coping with stress, fear, and uncertainty – HelpGuide.org