It’s the time of year when we all should be experiencing the height of summer fun.
It’s July, the sun is shining, beaches are nearby, and the thought of school should be far from anyone’s mind, especially school-age children.
But this summer, the summer of 2020, the sentiment behind the lyric, ‘It’s summertime and the living is easy’ will have to wait another year.
This summer is unlike any we’ve experienced before with a disquieting sense of unease and uncertainty replacing any romantic notions of carefree sun-filled days.
If you’re one of those feeling unsettled and anxious as the pandemic rages on, you are not alone. Our collective anxiety ebbs and flows as relentlessly as the ocean tides, sometimes predictably, and sometimes hitting us in unexpected ways.
Simply following the news and hearing reports on the numbers of people who have been infected and/or died from the disease can cause fear, especially for those considered to be at high-risk for becoming infected with the virus.
For children, used to the steady reliance of summer routines, the changes brought on by the coronavirus can be especially disruptive and frightening. To help them stay healthy, it’s important to first be able to spot the signs when a child needs support coping.
That’s one of the goals of We All Need Help Sometimes, a state-led public information campaign created by the Office of the Child Advocate to offer families basic information and resources on coronavirus.
The image above is one of the tip sheets offered through the campaign with a list of symptoms that suggest a child may need extra help. If your child or one you care for is sleeping too much or not enough, if they’re not following the rules, or being moody or upset, consider reaching our for assistance through your families pediatrician or through some of the local and state resources available.
Help is available. Sometimes, we all need it.
Other available resources in Massachusetts include MassSupport, a statewide crisis counseling program specifically designed to address needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To get help, you can call (888) 215-4920, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit masssupport.org.
The Office of the Child Advocate, in conjunction with the Department of Mental Health and UMass Medical, has launched a website with tips sheets, videos, and other resources for early childhood educators to help children process and cope with the stressors associated with COVID-19. These resources, while targeted toward child care providers, may be helpful for families and caregivers in talking with children about the pandemic and our "new normal."
Anyone looking for support related to emotional health and well being can always visit Mass.gov/CopingDuringCOVID or call Mass 2-1-1 for support.