Dear AUHSD Community:
During this truly unprecedented challenging and uncertain time for everyone, we understand children of all ages may be going through their own unique experience and reality as they make sense of the implications of COVID-19. The response to an infectious disease outbreak can affect people differently, both physically and emotionally. For teens, responses may raise more concern for their social, emotional, and academic well-being. Feelings such as loneliness, boredom, fear of contracting disease, anxiety, anger, stress, and panic are normal reactions to a stressful situation such as a disease outbreak.
In an effort to reduce stress and calm likely anxieties for students and families, Wellness will offer regular "Wellness Tips and Tools to Help Cope with COVID-19" via different parent and student communication media. Through this communication, we hope to share essential tips and tools to help parents/caregivers and students respond and cope with the emerging news and information around COVID-19.
Keep in mind, your children may respond differently to an outbreak and the demands for social distancing depending on their age. If you have concerns related to their physical or emotional responses, please take a moment to read this helpful resource shared by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NTSN) to learn about some reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond.
Below are some highlights from the reading that we hope will help you better understand the impact of an infectious disease outbreak and what you can do to help your family cope.
Information and Communication:
- Keep updated about what is happening with the outbreak and additional recommendations by getting information from credible media outlets, local public health authorities, and updates from public health websites (e.g., CDC). Avoid misinformation, which is rampant on social media.
- Seek support and continued connections from friends and family by talking to them on the telephone, texting, or communicating through email or social media.
- Although you need to stay informed, minimize exposure to media outlets or social media that might promote fear or panic. Be particularly aware of (and limit) how much media coverage or social media time your children are exposed to about the outbreak.
- Clarify misinformation or misunderstandings about how the virus is spread and that not every respiratory disease is COVID-19
- Provide comfort and a bit of extra patience.
- Check back in with your children on a regular basis or when the situation changes.
Scheduling & Activities:
- Even if your family is isolated, quarantined or in shelter-in-place, realize this will be temporary.
- Keep your family's schedule consistent when it comes to bedtimes, meals, exercise and schoolwork.
- Make time to do things at home that have made you and your family feel better in other stressful situations, such as reading, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, exercising, or engaging in religious activities (prayer, participating in services on the Internet).
- Help your family engage in fun and meaningful activities consistent with your family and cultural values.
Self Care & Coping:
- Modify your daily activities to meet the current reality of the situation and focus on what you can accomplish. Shift expectations and priorities to focus more on what gives you meaning, purpose, or fulfillment.
- Give yourself small breaks from the stress of the situation.
- Attempt to control self-defeating statements and replace them with more helpful thoughts.
- Remember, you are a role model for your children. How you handle this stressful situation can affect how your children manage their worries.
SEEKING ADDITIONAL HELP
If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with the outbreak and want to seek outside help, there are ways to get that help. For example:
- Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746.
- Your child may also seek 24/7 free and confidential counseling support through the following resources
- Contra Costa Crisis Center
You will be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor by
Calling 211 or (800) 833-2900 or
Texting 'HOPE' to 20121
Offers support for people in distress as well as suicide prevention and crisis resources. The Lifeline is also available in Spanish.
Additionally, you may reach out to your school's Wellness Coordinator via email for non-urgent resource needs.
Acalanes High School
Campolindo High School
Dr. Brittany Friedrich
Las Lomas High School
Miramonte High School
Acalanes Center for Independent Study (ACIS)
This is truly an extraordinary time for all of us. Together, as a supportive community, we will get through it.
Director of Wellness