How to mitigate long-term impacts of the pandemic on children


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While the long-term impacts of the pandemic will show with time, prior research indicates some of the potential impacts.

“We are seeing a mental health surge now in our local, primary care and mental health offices. Depression, anxiety, domestic violence and substance abuse are all up significantly,” said Dr. Susan McDaniel, URMC Director of the Institute for the Family in the Department of Psychiatry.

Each of these issues can have long-term effects on children who face these problems at home.

“We know from studies of adverse childhood experiences and adult trauma that these events can have negative effects on physical and mental health years and decades after the experience. They predict adult chronic illness and even earlier death,” said Dr. McDaniel.

Dr. McDaniel said one of the ways to mitigate issues faced during the pandemic, especially due to isolation, can be to practice self-care.

“Take care of your body, even when you don’t feel like it. Exercise, walk outside every day, eat healthy, sleep enough.”

In terms of best practices for children: “anything we can do to help children continue to interact with people they care about is going to be useful,” said McDaniel.

One of the best ways of doing this is through something that should be done everyday.

“Playing. Playing with them at home, encouraging play outside and inside,” said Dr. McDaniel.

“Hopefully the children will be back in school soon. That’s the plan right now and I think it will be very good for everybody if we can do that.”

Dr. McDaniel said by proactively taking care of yourself and your family, and creating positive experiences where possible, it can seriously mitigate impacts of the pandemic.

If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, you can dial the Finger Lakes Life Line at 2-1-1.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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