The long term effect on our youth: How can we make sure that PTSD and trauma in children caused by the pandemic is taken seriously?

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Overview – We all know the impact that the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on the world.   As we begin to see vaccination rates improve, and the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel, we must also understand that there are longer term effects associated.    School age children will be impacted by the social aspects of the pandemic.   Their being forced to attend virtual classes, or the inconsistency of virtual, and in person teaching.   The impact to things like High School sport, and the rule changes or even the cancellation of games or seasons.   Not to mention the overall impact to social growth, and simply not being able to spend time with friends the same way, that they are all feeling from the COVID pandemic.   Certainly the impact can be felt in the students, but we know there will be longer term, PTSD that school age will be working through for years.  The US is tracking to have the largest % of its population’s mental health effected due to the pandemic, and that will certainly correlate to the School aged level.

What You Need to Know
School aged children from around the world are already feeling the effect of PTSD.   The daily information they receive via the media, along with the impact to their day to day lifestyles are taking its toll.   From the reports of children having “vivid nightmares,”  to the increased death counts being reported daily, mental health is being impacted.   “These Kids have seen it all and internalized it!” (Thompson / Yahoo).   Beyond the impact these children feel from external sources, there have been many impacts to the lives of youths from the quarantine itself, to social isolation, to abuse, and loss of loved ones.  As well, this age group is also finding its thought affected in terms of the stress related issues.  Issues such as general anxiety,  Stigmas again those having tested for COVID, and even Xenophobia / Racism have been intensified amongst our youth. (Judge Baker Children’s center).  Certainly the parents can play a role in helping the youth Cope with the challenges.  They can help the situation by helping the children “by labeling their feelings and providing validation.”  The impact can come from a number of areas as “reactions will vary depending on their age, developmental level, degree of social support, and coping skills, amongst other things.” (BBC)  The sheer volume of the information, uncertainty and unprecedented impact will force all of us to really assure that we are focused on helping our youth!  

My for now Response
There are many ways that YOU can help with all the issues that have became present since the start of this pandemic. Some of the simpler ones that can make a big difference are: Spreading TRUE information about the trauma that can and has been caused. Another way you can make an impact in your community is by keeping an open mind about those around you, you never know what someone is going through so you need to be extra careful during these trying times. Finally you can talk to your family about how you feel to keep yourself in good shape.

 We are all learning exactly what the new normal means, but understanding that the new normal wont truly be understood for quite some time is important. Many of you will know someone who has experienced a loss or a great change due to the Covid-19 pandemic. making sure you watch what you say and offer your support are great ways of helping out in your community and

How can you help
There are many ways that you can help ease the pain that has been caused by this global pandemic in your community. The easiest things you can do is spread awareness and offer your support. This can be big or small as any help is good help. Make sure you keep and open mind and tread lightly as there are many people who are going through a very rough time because of this

In the comments below  please share your thoughts and ideas around these questions

-How can we make sure we are engaging those school aged children to assure that we help them with their PTSD?
-Does your local community / school have a focus on addressing this?   If not, is there someone you could speak to in order to help.
-As many of us are students, living through this, what are some best practices we can share about how we are working through our stress surrounding COVID.

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  1. Hey Isaac! I am from a different abnormal psychology class, and I decided to interact with your website!

    -How can we make sure we are engaging those school-aged children to assure that we help them with their PTSD?
    I feel ensuring students are engaged throughout the school day will help a lot, but also paying close attention to their grades. Grades can actually tell a lot, whether someone is trying, but also many students feel they can’t exceed in school due to their mental health, so maybe that could be a way or something to look out for!

    -Does your local community/school have a focus on addressing this? If not, is there someone you could speak to in order to help?
    My local community I don’t believe really has a focus on addressing this, rather they have a guidance counselor if you would like to visit them and talk about the ongoing pandemic or anything to be honest. Although, I know younger kids have been affected by this pandemic a lot more, and they don’t seem to be helping them as much compared to high school students (at my school specifically). So, maybe I could contact my school about this.

    -As many of us are students, living through this, what are some best practices we can share about how we are working through our stress surrounding COVID?
    I personally love to keep myself busy, that helps distract myself and keep myself from overthinking about this ongoing pandemic. I personally love to play lacrosse and hang out with friends, so that helps me cope with this!

    Great website Isaac! Great topic as well, so thank you for zooming more into this topic!!
    Thank you,
    Alexa Mislow

  2. Hi Isaac! I really enjoyed reading your presentation as it is focused on such a universal issue amongst students at the moment. To answer your questions:

    1. How can we make sure we are engaging those school-aged children to assure that we help them with their PTSD?
    To make sure we are engaging school-aged children schools could create mini-sessions where they explain the different ways students could look after their mental health during this time and make it clear that there are counselors available. They should also introduce interesting virtual activities that can help get the student’s minds of the pandemic. For example, they could have virtual game sessions or something along those lines. I think that teachers should also notice any behavioral changes in children, or things such as them not doing their work, grade changes, etc., and then check up on the students.

    2. Does your local community/school have a focus on addressing this? If not, is there someone you could speak to in order to help?
    I don’t think my local community has a focus on addressing this and if they do I am unaware of it, however, my school has counselors available. The counselors aren’t necessarily there to help with trauma related to the pandemic but they are there to help with any issues students may have in general.

    3. As many of us are students, living through this, what are some best practices we can share about how we are working through our stress surrounding COVID.
    I would say that to work through stress we could discover new hobbies and learn new skills. For instance, you could learn to cook, paint, draw, learn how to play an instrument, and many more. Personally, one thing that has helped take my mind off of things is to do physical activity and take some time for myself to nap or watch movies. Right now it is very important that we get some connections with others so I would also recommend chatting with friends online or having video calls with them, you could also virtually watch movies with them on Netflix party if that is of interest to you. Spend some time with your family as well.

  3. Hi Isaac!
    Thanks so much for sharing your topic in such detail!

    For your final question, I think that it’s not a matter of sharing our best practices, but rather sharing the practice of finding what works best for them. Not everyone reacts to situations in the same ways, and similarly, the same habits won’t work for everyone either. As a result, if we display the practice of trial and error to find what works best, people will truly be able to discover what helps reduce their own stress.
    Personally, I’ve found that working out helps reduce my stress and that making lists helps me be more productive during the pandemic.

    What do you think are some positive long-term impacts of the pandemic?
    Thanks again for sharing!
    Alicia van ‘t Riet

  4. Hey Isaac! I had no idea that the pandemic could have such a large threatening impact on the mind of so many adolescents! In response to your third question, I think creating an environment where students can be vulnerable and speak to each other about their mental health issues caused by the pandemic would be a great way to start communicating general awareness. I think a lot of students felt as though online school failed to separate academic life from personal life. Therefore, my piece of advice would be to focus on time management, and not be afraid to speak to trusted adults about the ways in which they could help. Dedicating time every day, without feeling guilty, to doing an activity that is completely underrated to academics is a great way to try and re-establish normality in your routine. Further, focusing on getting enough sleep is extremely important; if you find yourself always on your phone late at night, set a time where you put it outside of your room to charge and avoid distraction.

  5. Hi Isaac, I really liked your project. I think the topic of online learning and mental health is super interesting and relevant. At the start of the pandemic, me and my friends were all happy to be home, but as time went on it started to take a toll on everyone. Even though it has been hard, I never knew that young children could develop PTSD from online learning and the pandemic. I hope one day we find a way to reverse the effects this pandemic has caused because imprinting on young minds will definitely effect the future generation.

  6. I hadn’t really thought about the longer term affects of a pandemic on children, the communities that I am a part of do not seem to be addressing problems past the pandemic. Instead of this they are focused on rushing everyone back to school, and although this is needed, more focus should be put on what happened and what effects does it have, not what will happen.

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