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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