"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God" ~ Philippians 4:6
As we know, the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be very stressful for many people, including our students. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. The Antonian Counseling Department would like to take this time to provide you with the following:
- Answers to questions you may have about how Antonian counseling services will continue to be provided and accessed during the time of school closure
- Information about supporting your child and taking care of yourself during this time of the COVID-19 outbreak, including signs and symptoms to look out for, which could indicate your child may need extra support through this stressful time, and links to other helpful information
- The latest information and encouraged responses, prayers, provided us through the USCCB and our Catholic mental healthcare providers
As information continues to be communicated regarding continuation of classes via online instruction, please also be aware that we will provide updates on any changes in access to counseling services for you or your child. Counselors remain available through email contact and will respond promptly. For those students who were receiving social/emotional counseling services on a more regular basis, or who were receiving more intensive counseling/psychotherapy services, they will continue to be able to receive services via phone/teleconferencing. More information on teleservices will follow. Students and parents remain able to contact Dr. Gonzalez and Ms. Daniels via email.
Should you or your child feel that you would benefit from counseling support, please do not hesitate to contact us. It is important to keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Children and teens react, in part, to 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 and teens, if they are better prepared.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. The National Assoc
iation of School Psychologists (NASP) reminds us of the following signs that your child/teen may be struggling:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children/increased anger, irritability in teens
- For younger children, returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bed wetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and "acting out" behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding schoolwork
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger. Catholic medical doctor (and Deacon!) and expert in infectious disease, Dr. Timothy Flanigan, reminds us:
"We also need to take care of each other...and even when we're suffering, we are never alone... Christ is always with us...We can't stop helping each other. Be Christians-that is the real challenge of life."
Finally, as counselors who practice from a Christ-centered, solution-focused, and family systems approach, we encourage parents to remain faithful through this challenging time, and make an effort to stay focused on thoughtful, purposeful responses. We must not forget about our strength and resiliency and that of our children, calling always upon our faith to both ground us and propel us forward towards solutions, towards our relationships with each other, and towards Christ. We invite all parents to read and reflect on the words of Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his recent release:
The Antonian Counseling Department sincerely thanks you for your patience and support in reading this correspondence, and encourages you to view more information regarding COVID-19 and supporting your student available on the Antonian website by clicking on the following link:
or by copying an
d pasting the follow URL into the address window of your web browser:
We are committed to serving you through this challenging time. Ag
ain, please do not hesitate to reach out to us regarding services for your teen, family, and/or referrals/connection to community resources.
Andrea Gonzalez, PsyD
Emily Daniels, LMFT