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Doctor In Consultation With Depressed Female Patient

Mental Wellness During 2020: How to Access Help

The year 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. The figurative “rug” of structure and predictability that we have all known and thrive in has been pulled out from under us. We are all tasked with trying to maintain our mental wellness in the midst of a lot of uncertainty and stress, which feels unpredictable, chaotic, overwhelming, and out of our control.

We all have mental health, and maintaining it is just as important as our physical health. Mental health includes our unique strengths and challenges and the way we perceive ourselves and the world. Trying to maintain our mental health and wellness in the current times is more difficult than ever, and you are not alone in this. For those of us who have experienced mental health challenges prior to 2020, these issues may be even more significant than they were before and that much more tough to manage.

It’s important to look out for red flags for our mental health and wellness, similarly to how we monitor our physical health.

Examples of red flags for children and adolescents can include:

  • excessive worrying.
  • tearfulness.
  • difficulty sleeping.
  • behavioral challenges like noncompliance or aggression.
  • difficulty focusing.
  • bedwetting.
  • clinginess.
  • substance use.
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

When we notice any red flags and start feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with these challenges on our own, it is important to seek out help. Similarly, for parents and caregivers, when your child’s issues are no longer something you can manage on your own in the home, it is time to get support.

Consider where your power lies. There are things you can control and actions you can take to maintain you and your child’s mental wellness.

  • Attend to basic needs like eating healthy nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and being physically active.
  • Maintain structure within your daily routines like mealtimes, sleep routines, and screen times. Use adaptive and healthy coping.
  • Allow time for creativity and create quiet times to unplug.

Take Advantage of Resources Right Here in Our Community 

Locally, it’s important to link with your child’s pediatrician and communicate any concerns as they can connect you with mental health resources in our community. CHKD pediatricians are a great first stop, as they are well versed in identifying these red flags and connecting your child to care with CHKD’s mental health program.

In The Case of a Mental Health Crisis 

Bring your child at any time or day to the CHKD emergency department in Norfolk to have their safety and needs assessed. Currently, there are a lot more virtual mental health services available across our region that you may be able to access from your home like outpatient therapy and support groups.

Nationwide Resources

Nationwide, there are also some great resources. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a helpline that offers support before a crisis occurs: (800) 950-NAMI. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255, or reach a crisis counselor by texting HOME to 741741.

There is hope, and we will get through this. Be well.

About Anne Russell, LCSW

About Anne  Russell, LCSW Anne Russell has worked with children in the community since 2005 and has been providing therapy to children since 2009. Russell became a licensed clinical social worker in 2013 and started her LCSW career as a clinician at CHKD’s Child Advocacy Center in 2013. She is considered an expert in child maltreatment and trauma. She joined the CHKD Mental Health Program in 2018.