Social & Emotional Health
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources. People can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media.
Children 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. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Support for Parents
Not all children respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for in children:
- Excessive crying and irritation
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (e.g., toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and "acting out" behaviors
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alchohol, tobacco or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child:
- Take time to talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand.
- Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your child's exposure to media coverage of the event. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Help your child to have a sense of structure. Once it is safe to return to school or childcare, help them return to their regular activity.
- Be a role model; take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exersize, and eat well.
- Connect with your friends and family members and rely on your social support system.
Compiled with information from the Snohomish County Human Services Department.
Support for Teens
- 24-Hour Crisis Line: 1-800-584-3578
- Online Crisis Chat: www.imhurting.org
Ways to cope - try something new every day!
- Deep breathing (try Box Breathing: Slowly inhale while counting to four; hold breath for four; exhale slowly for four, hold breath again for four; repeat process.
- Dance to your favorite music
- Set up a Zoom meeting or FaceTime with friends
- Take a walk outside (walk the dog if you have one) - keeping your distance from people
- Color/Draw/Paint - whatever you have the supplies for
- Do a puzzle (1,000 pieces will take you a while!)
- Do yoga (there are lots of good videos on YouTube; try Yoga with Adriene)
- Blow bubbles or draw with chalk paint on your driveway or patio
- Read a book for fun
- Learn how to bake or cook something from what you have in your home
- Write in a journal - document this unprecendented time in your life
- Play a board game
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Send a card or letter to someone
- Tell someone you trust how you've been feeling
- Email your favorite staff member from school and check in (they'll appreciate it!)
Apps to help with anxiety and depression
- AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game: Games to help reduce stress and increase relaxation
- Headspace: Mindfulness and meditation to help feel more positive and less stressed
- Breath to Relax: Breathing techniques for stress management
- Daylio: Mood tracker
- Mindshift: Insight and basic skills to help manage anxiety
- T2 Mood Tracker: Helps track emotional states over time for insight and accurate reporting, along with skill development
- Worry Watch: Self-monitoring and documentation of symptoms related to anxiety
- Youper: Take control of your emotional health with personalized feedback and messages
Physical Health & Wellness
Maintaining physical health and activity can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
- The YMCA offers FREE on-demand programs as our communities attempt to socially isolate in response to COVID-19 YMCA 360
Helpful Contact Information
SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- People with deafness or hearing loss can use their preferred relay service to call 1-800-985-5990