Stress and COVID-19

Stress and COVID-19


Today we’re going to be talking about some of the psychological issues that are coming up with COVID-19, And we’re fortunate today to have Dr. Rick D’Alli. He’s from the Department’s of Pediatrics and Psychiatry At UF Health and he’s going to be talking about those issues and how families can deal with them. I think the most important message for parents is to be absolutely honest and open with children. Children have a very interesting way of knowing exactly what’s going on without your having to tell them and So parents, I am sure at this time, are confused, anxious, worried; and that is something that they should actually share with their children without making them overly anxious. So be honest, be real, let your kids know that you’re very concerned about this national crisis. But, as a family, we’re in this together and I will be always available to you to answer any questions as I can, as best as I can, And we’ll support each other. Anxiety is built in to all of us as a natural response to a fear. Now, when an anxiety becomes a disorder it’s when the fear is irrational, something we don’t understand, and the response that we have is well beyond a response that you would expect. So, anxiety is what we’re going to be looking for in children. How do we see anxiety in children? The good old docs from years ago taught us is that anxiety is sort of a mid-line problem in children. Think about headaches. Think about shortness of breath. Think about heart pounding. Think about stomach aches and belly aches, and problems going to the bathroom, or going to the bathroom too much. These are the kind of things that you want to be sensitive to with regard to children. And what you don’t want to do is minimize or say “You’ll get over it. It’s okay. This is nothing.” You want to sympathize and
empathize with the child and say “Tell me how this feels. Can we talk about it? What do you think?” I want to also emphasize to adults That they need to take time if they’re home with their children for themselves. In an old-fashioned sort of way, you the parent needs to say to your kids, to their kids, “You know what? We’re going to have a one-hour or a two hour quiet time for everyone.” Everyone will go to their bedrooms and we’re going to have quiet time.” And during that quiet time adults need to take care of themselves. They need to do whatever it takes to reduce their anxiety. Whether it’s in-home exercise. Whether it is picking up that old fashioned machine that Alexander Graham Bell gave us called the telephone and talking to friends, talking to other members of the family. How are you doing? How are you making it through this? Doing anything that they can that relaxes them so that they can have an hour or two of quiet time just to themselves, just to refresh, just to relax. Very important for parents to do this every single day. That maintains their mental health as well as the mental health of the children. We know a lot of you have more questions about COVID-19 and we’d be happy to take those questions by email at the email address that’s here and we will do our best to answer those in a future video. Thank you.

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