Therapist shares tips on mental well-being of children during COVID-19

Coronavirus

Children playing

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The psychological effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are extensive for many children and a psychologist is offering insight on why that is, and how to help children during the pandemic.

Tammy Hamner, a Child and Family Psychologist with Hamner Psychological Services, explained that the mental effects vary based on the kind of home a child is being raised, specifically how adults around them are handling the situation. Children are experiencing behavioral changes like the difficulty to get along with others, sleeping and feeling or getting aggressive because unlike adults, they do not know how to effectively communicate their feelings, Hamner said.

Hamner, psychologist

“We need to reassure our children and ourselves that we are smart people and that we can figure it out; that we educate our children, that it is a significant or serious infection, and some people can get more sick and that we have to do our part, so we follow the rules. There’s the rules of the world, which we all are under, at the present time, washing hands, coughing into our arms, social distancing, isolating, wearing masks.”

Tammy Hamner

In conjunction with these reminders, Hamner said, it is important for parents and guardians to establish a sense of structure in the home in order to create a sense of balance in the world.

These structures can include scheduling meals, sleep, time to work, play on electronic devices and be physically active.

Hamner, like many healthcare providers, has had to adjust to using video conferencing and telephone calls to interact with patients. She said all three other Hamner Psychological Services psychologists are also working, but only interacting with their patients virtually.

“I think it’s going well,” Hamner said. “We’ve only done it with our established patients so that we have a history with them and I believe it’s gone well.”

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