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Coronavirus Update #5  -  Social Emotional Supports
Coronavirus Update #5 - Social Emotional Supports
Jeff Mount
Friday, March 20, 2020

Feeling Stressed?

Mason County Central Can Help You.

During this time Mason County Central Schools is committed to assisting you and your family through this time of need. We have set up call station(s) to our buildings with access to our Student Success Specialists. Our hope is to provide you another outlet above and beyond building level principals and teachers.

We all know that during times of stress it is sometimes important to hear a familiar reassuring voice and we want to make sure we provide this to you from Mason County Central Schools from now through the return of school, and YES this includes spring break!

If needing assistance outside our operation hours/days we strongly encourage you to call 2-1-1 which connects people to services/supports: such as food, shelter, utility assistance, disaster recovery, childcare, transportation, mental health and substance abuse to support you in your time of need.

Operation Hours For Phone Lines Accessing A Student Success Specialist       

                                       9:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday

High School

  • 231-342-9016   John Chalko
  • 231-342-5346   Kristen Alway

Middle School

  • 231-342-3097   Amy Billings
  • 231-613-5438   Scott Scheffler

Upper Elementary

  • 231-613-2644   Lori Schneider

Scottville Elementary

  • 231-613-5425   Ann Greiner

ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

The COVID-19 pandemic may be stressful and incredibly frightening for some people.

Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children, particularly during uncertain times. This is why it is crucial to take care of your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

The CDC reminds everyone that each individual reacts differently to a stressful situation. Your response to a situation may be completely different than another person's due to a number of factors.

However, according to the CDC, the people who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people & people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID 19
  • Children & Teens
  • People helping respond to COVID-19: doctors/health care/first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including substance use

The CDC outlines that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

  • Fear and worry about one's health and the health of loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

The good news is that there are ways that may help you reduce stress and take care of your mental well-being.

WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS AND ANXIETY

ADULTS

According to the CDC, one of the ways to reduce stress during an outbreak is to share the facts about COVID-19 and understand the actual risk to yourself and people you care about. When you share accurate information about the novel coronavirus you can help make others feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.

Aside from learning about the outbreak, partaking in activities that brings one joy as well as talking with people you trust about your feelings is also recommended by the CDC.

The CDC also notes that it is important to take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories since continuously hearing about a pandemic without a break can be upsetting. Although it is important to stay informed, people can become more distressed if they see repeated images of a disaster in the media.

The CDC also highlights the correlation between taking care of your body and your mental health. Taking deep breaths, stretching or meditating can help ease your stress.

The CDC also recommends trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

CHILDREN AND TEENS

Parents who are also looking after the emotional wellbeing of children or teens can take certain measures to try and alleviate their stress.

According to the CDC, it is important to keep in mind that children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them.

"When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children," the CDC says.

Just like adults, not all children and teens react to stress in the same manner. Some children react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty much later. How a child reacts and the common signs of distress can be different depending on their age, previous experiences, and how the child typically copes with stress, the CDC notes.

Some of the signs that your child or teen may be stressed include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown: toileting issues
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school (upon return)
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities they previously enjoyed
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

If you believe a child or teen may be stressed or overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommends ways to support them, including:

·    Taking the time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, you should answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

·    Reassuring them that they are safe. Let them know it is alright if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

·    Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

·    Trying to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.

·    Be a role model. How? According to the CDC, by taking breaks, getting plenty of sleep, exercising, and eating well. Remember to connect with friends and family members.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   

As many people across the world experience social distancing, self-quarantine or mandatory quarantine, it is expected that the lack of interaction and isolation could impact one's mental health.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are a few pointers that could help you deal with spiraling negative thoughts during this uncertain time while you are in self-quarantine, quarantine or isolation for a prolonged period of time. The ADAA suggests the following:

·    Rethink “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on my home and myself”

·    Stay close to your normal routine by maintaining some semblance of structure from your     pre-quarantine days

·    Avoid obsessing over endless coronavirus coverage

·    A chaotic home can lead to a chaotic mind, so try to keep your home organized, predictable and tidy

·    Start a new quarantine ritual

 

·    Use virtual healthcare as an option to talk to a professional if your anxiety becomes unmanageable. According to the ADAA, many licensed psychologists are offering telehealth options over HIPAA-compliant video chat platforms.

Being separated from others if you have been exposed or think you have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you end up not getting sick. However, according to the CDC, some of these feelings could still be experienced even after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings, the CDC outlines, include :

·         Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine

·         Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

·         Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19

·         Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious

·         Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine

·         Other emotional or mental health changes

The CDC also urges individuals with preexisting mental health conditions to continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

Additional resources for individuals with mental health conditions or substance abuse problems can be found on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.