COVID-19 has left communities reeling. First came the rapid school closures, which for many parents meant no reliable childcare or access to needed therapy services. In the weeks since, we’ve heard from others who are scared, confused or frustrated by ever-changing health guidelines. Amidst the uncertainty and chaos, it can be difficult for us to know how to cope. That’s why we talked to Kids for the Future licensed clinician, Krissie Shells, about how we can navigate this uncharted territory and protect our mental health:
What is your advice for those struggling with the uncertainty of COVID-19?
First, give yourself some grace. These are unprecedented times. In the span of a few weeks, many parents have become full-time employees and teachers, and kids have forgone their traditional social interactions for video chats. We’re all being tested. Be forgiving—to yourself and your family—and focus on communication.
What coping tips do you recommend?
Limit your access to negative news and social media and instead focus on the positives in your life—whether that’s more family bonding time or a much-needed break from your normally hectic schedule. Set aside time to recharge with self-care activities such as taking a bath, listening to music or going for a walk.
How has the shift to teletherapy been?
Teletherapy has its challenges, particularly because I am a hugger and, for some of the children, that hug provides assurance they’re loved and someone cares. It also forces me to be nimble because I have to find creative ways to keep younger children’s attention. I’ve still been able to make incredible progress with families, particularly with parents. In fact, many adults seem more comfortable communicating through technology, which has strengthened our relationships.
What positive changes do you see from COVID-19?
Teletherapy opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Kids for the Future. We have always gone above and beyond for the children we serve. But I’ve been especially moved by our response to COVID-19, including our immediate action to create care bags for families in need. I hope this sense of togetherness will continue to fuel positive changes in our communities and across the country.
Kids for the Future, Inc. Counseling Services has remained open during COVID-19. However, most services are now being conducted by phone, FaceTime or other video conferencing mediums. If you have questions about our services or other COVID-19-related resources, please check here.