Dealing with the

stress of COVID-19

We’re out of work and at home; the kids are out of school and underfoot; the national news is negative and deafening.

We feel the stress.

The Missouri Department of Mental Health recognizes there are potential mental health issues associated with the COVID-19 and has several resources that could help ease the emotional and mental pain.

For more information on how you and your family can better cope, go to the Missouri Department of Mental Health: https://dmh.mo.gov/disaster-services/covid-19-information#community.

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What about the children?

Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting, etc. Consider these suggestions:

•Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.

•Try and keep children close to their parents and family and avoid separating children and their caregivers to the extent possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalization) ensure regular contact (e.g. via phone) and re-assurance.

•Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age. This also includes providing information about what could happen in a re-assuring way (e.g., a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better).Children need adults love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention.

•Remember to listen to your children, speak kindly and reasure them. If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.

•Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.