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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Supporting Your Family’s Mental Health During COVID-19

Published in Behavioral Health Services, For the Health of It Author: Gary Wallinga,PhD, LP

Many adults are dealing with stress and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic – and so are kids and teens. There are several ways parents can help address their children’s concerns and offer mental health support during this hectic time.

What parents can do:

  • Talk to your children about COVID-19 in a serious manner without being scary. How you communicate with your child is as important as the words you use. And remember, children and teens may also be listening when you are talking with other people in your household or over the phone.
  • Try to limit the amount of news you are consuming in your household, including on social media. Kids and teens might misinterpret information they hear or see – increasing fear and anxiety.
  • Watch for these signs of anxiety in your child or teen:
    • Substance abuse
    • Increased fighting/defiance
    • Depression and demoralization
    • Unexplained aches and pains
    • Regressed behavior
    • Increased irritability and crying

CentraCare is offering mental health video visits amid our COVID-19 response. Children and adults can talk to a behavioral health provider about the challenges they are facing. Video visits are available to new and established patients and no referral is needed. Same day or next day appointments are possible, call 320-255-6677 to schedule. Review more information on our Behavioral Health Services page

Online mental health resources:

• The National Child Traumatic Stress Network created a fact sheet with tips for families on how to help children cope, create schedules and prioritize self care.

• The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has valuable information on how to help children cope during emergencies.

• The CDC also shared this Ready Wrigley activity book for children age 3 – 10.

• The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has posted several videos and resources for parents, children and teens dealing with anxiety.

• Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules listed several strategies to support individuals with ASD during uncertain times.

• Headspace provides several interactive tools designed to help people practice relaxation for coping and regulating emotions.

• Use this COVID-19 communication board created by Julia Beems. A helpful tool for people of all abilities. Available in English and Spanish