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Coronavirus mental health advice of GF psychologists

Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from an article provided by Osika and Scarano Psychological Services, on Pine Street in Glens Falls:

With the onset of COVID-19, our office is incorporating OVID-19 into existing treatment plans AND preparing for the mental health fallout due to the restrictions on daily life.

At the beginning of each session we are asking patients how they are doing with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Whereas ADL’s are a topic to address with only the severely mentally ill, they are now an important topic to ask ALL of our patients.

Do you have enough food and supplies? How are your finances? Are you refilling your medications? How are you sleeping? Does anyone in your home have flu-like symptoms or a fever? Have you relapsed on substances (or are you suicidal) due to the stress?

…Typically people with anxiety and OCD will make the already restrictive guidelines harder and worse on themselves. Others are not taking the guidelines seriously enough and are ignoring social distancing guidelines which needs to be addressed in treatment.

Reminding people that this is a temporary situation is important. Staying off of questionable social media sites and keeping your children from watching movies or YouTube videos depicting apocalyptic themes can lower anxiety.

Helping patients adhere to a schedule and develop some type of structure to their day is important to coping, especially for children. Designating times of day for schoolwork, physical activity and family time can help children not spend excessive time playing video games.

Having family meetings to discuss how to make things better and less boring in the home are sometimes helpful. Family discussions on how to manage anxiety can help children develop their own list of distractor and relaxation techniques. Arts and crafts, music, reading, meditation, deep breathing, playing cards, and watching historical documentaries can teach children that anxiety can be temporarily blocked out to relieve stress.

ngaging children in domestic projects can help reduce boredom. It’s a great time to declutter rooms, sell unwanted belongings online, calling friends/family on the phone (especially the elderly), and playing board games can help families reconnect in (may be) a better and healthier way.

Parental roles are more multifaceted and demanding than ever and require them to take on roles as parent, therapist, teacher, coach and rule enforcer. Parents need to realize they too are going to buckle and that it is OK to lower their own bar during this crisis. Children are not going to be harmed by a lengthy spring break and valuable life skills are being taught during this crisis. Model coping and relaxation skills for your children…”

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