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Behavioral and Mental Health Issues Related to COVID-19 Coronavirus

These past months have brought tremendous change and challenges to us all. Our daily routines have drastically changed, causing increased stress and anxiety. Unlike other disasters, we do not yet know when life will return to normal. This makes coping with the coronavirus pandemic even more difficult.

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The coronavirus pandemic has also compounded issues faced by those previously struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, financial hardship, unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, or even childhood trauma. It is completely understandable that life can feel unbearable right now.

In all of this, it is important to know that you are not alone. We will pull through these difficult times together. For now, it is important to focus on the things we can control and be sure we are setting aside time for ourselves and our mental health, each day.

Scroll Through Coloring Book Images.

We have developed a coloring book, which we are calling ‘Coping Through Coloring’. Coloring has been shown to reduce stress and lower anxiety. We hope you will download our free coloring book and have some fun with it. As a bonus, and to help give back, we are conducting a coloring contest - so let us see your best work! The coloring contest runs through the end of June 2020. You can download your coloring book on the Coloring Book Page: Click Here!

Tips For Staying Mentally Healthy During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying physically and mentally strong while working from home can be challenging. We would like to share some tips to help you stay mentally well during this pandemic. Integrating walks into your day builds long-term physical and mental health wellness. We also suggest:

Staying Connected: Use face-to-face technology creatively. Technology allows us to see and hear our colleagues, friends, and families, even when we are forced into separate spaces. Take the opportunity to be together virtually through coffee breaks, meetings, classes, or even virtual book clubs to stay connected.

Practice Self-Compassion: Try to remember during this crisis that all of this is completely new to all of us. Foremost, it is new to you, and you are doing the best you can. Say that phrase out loud every day. If you are a perfectionist, now is the time to lower your expectations for yourself and everyone around you. We can all help each other muddle through. Make sure to practice compassion for yourself, your family, and your friends. Remind yourself these are not normal times. None of us are functioning to the best of our abilities, and that is okay. Whatever you are doing to get through these days is good enough.

The Institute for Childhood Preparedness Behavioral and Mental Health Online Training Course

We just released our newest training course: Behavioral and Mental Health Issues Related to COVID-19. Our course focuses on how to cope during the coronavirus pandemic, citing resources and information aimed at identifying and understanding the various feelings and emotions that parents, staff, and the children in your care may be facing. Our expert-backed course will also provide tips and tools to help reduce stress today, as well as how to bring a calming environment to your child care program upon re-opening.

This course is free for Coronavirus Training Bundle members. Enroll today: Click Here!

Social Isolation and The Negative Impacts On Mental Health

Isolation and loneliness have previously been classified as a public health concern, with outcomes tied to reduced lifespan and a greater risk of mental and physical illnesses. According to a recent study, “There is particular concern about suicidal ideation during this time, as isolation is a risk factor for suicide.” This same study also found that “47% of those sheltering in place reported negative mental health effects resulting from worry or stress related to coronavirus.”

The study found these negative impacts on mental health during self-isolation in the time of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • 57% of respondents who said their lives were disrupted “a lot” were more likely to have negative mental health impacts than the 28% that said their lives were disrupted “a little” or “not at all.”

  • Older adults (over 64) were less likely to report that the quarantine had a negative impact on mental health than their younger (18-64) counterparts. This could be because older adults were already at greater risk for poor mental health before the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Mental health issues for students may increase with prolonged stay-at-home orders and limited engagement with peers.

  • Existing mental illness among adolescents may worsen from the coronavirus pandemic, especially with limited access to mental health services.

  • Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse have all increased in adolescents aged 12-17 from 2016-2018. These issues could be exacerbated by prolonged stay-at-home orders.

  • Due to changes in the daily routine, three out of five women (57%) cite worrying or stress related to the coronavirus as a negative impact on their mental health.

According to the study, “The pandemic is likely to have both long- and short-term implications for mental health and substance use. Those with mental illness and substance use disorders pre-pandemic, and those newly affected, will likely require mental health and substance use services.”

The CARES Act for Mental Health Services

The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) includes $425 million for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This apportionment helps those in need of telehealth and remote care, which may not be covered through Medicare, private insurance, or federally-funded programs. This funding also includes extra help for isolated veterans through the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The CARES Act is a good start in helping those in need to receive telehealth services. The government needs to prepare to help care for even more individuals post-COVID-19 coronavirus.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month

Every May is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year, National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is May 7, 2020. According to SAMHSA, “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day shines a national spotlight on the importance of caring for every child’s mental health and reinforces that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development.” Children's Mental Health Awareness Month brings the issue of mental health disorders out into the public and encourages families to seek professional help, guidance, and resources. Supporting children is a community-based effort, one that requires parents, caregivers, and child care providers to show compassion and to support children in their time of need. By taking the time to provide children with positive reinforcement, therapy, and community-based support, children have the opportunity to grow and thrive. The CDC says, “1 in 6 U.S. children aged 2–8 years (17.4%) had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.” The most common childhood mental health disorders include ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression. It’s especially important to help children and provide them with positive coping techniques and resources during the COVID-19 coronavirus, so their mental health issues don’t become exacerbated due to prolonged stay-at-home orders.

The Institute for Childhood Preparedness is here for you during this unprecedented time. We understand your worries, fears, and struggles, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. We’re all in this together, and we will come back stronger and more prepared than before. Send us a message and let us know how you’re coping during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic:

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