Addison Community Schools

Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health for MS/HS

Dear Parents,

In today’s society, we are facing new challenges that most of us never imagined. While parents are worried about keeping their families safe, healthy and fed with businesses closing, job insecurity and bare store shelves, students are experiencing increased trauma with fewer supports in place to assist them. It’s important to remember that everyone is experiencing the challenges of daily life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, even students in the same homes can have very different experiences. Some students may be doing just fine. This may feel like a vacation from their daily stresses and they may be enjoying the additional family time. Other students may be struggling with social isolation from their peers, worried about their future plans with canceled classes and feeling the financial stresses their families are experiencing. And some students are stuck at home in unsafe living conditions with no safe place to go.


Last week, Ms. Flores shared some great information about anxiety that you should take a few minutes to check out if you haven’t already. I wanted to go a little deeper and talk about the trauma that students could be dealing with, share some warning signs you can be on the lookout for and provide some resources that can help along the way.


As a reminder, Ms. Flores and I are both available to help as well so don’t be afraid to reach out. We can’t wait to return to school and see everyone and love to hear from students and families!

What is Trauma?

According to Merriam-Webster:


Definition of trauma. 1a : an injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent. b : a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.


What does this mean for you? It's a reminder that COVID-19 can have more of an impact on each of us that just our physical health. As a society, we are facing a significant trauma that will effect each of us differently. It's important to watch out for the signs in ourselves and those around us and reach out for supports when needed.

Signs Your Teen May Need More Support

  • changes in mood that are not usual for your child, such as ongoing irritability, feelings of hopelessness or rage, and frequent conflicts with friends and family.

  • changes in behavior, such as stepping back from personal relationships. If your ordinarily outgoing teen shows little interest in texting or video chatting with their friends while stuck at home, for example, this might be cause for concern.

  • a lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed. Did your music-loving child suddenly stop wanting to practice guitar, for example? Did your aspiring chef lose all interest in cooking and baking?

  • a hard time falling or staying asleep, or starting to sleep all the time.

  • changes in weight or eating patterns, such as never being hungry or eating all the time.

  • problems with memory, thinking, or concentration.

  • changes in appearance, such as lack of basic personal hygiene (within reason, since many are doing slightly less grooming during this time at home.)

  • an increase in risky or reckless behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol.

  • ​thoughts about death or suicide, or talking about it (see “A word about suicide risk in teens," above).

*Provided by healthychildren.org

Helping Your Teen During COVID-19

Possible Reactions and What You Can Do

Reactions

Physical symptoms (headaches, rashes, etc.)

Sleep/appetite disturbance

Agitation or decrease in energy, apathy

Ignoring health promotion behaviors

Isolating from peers and loved ones

Concerns about stigma and injustices

Avoiding/cutting school


How to Help

Patience, tolerance, and reassurance

Encourage continuation of routines

Encourage discussion of outbreak experience with peers, family (but do not force)

Stay in touch with friends through telephone, Internet, video games

Participate in family routines, including chores, supporting younger siblings, and planning strategies to enhance health promotion behaviors

Limit media exposure, talking about what they have seen/heard including at school

Discuss and address stigma, prejudice and potential injustices occurring during outbreak

*National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Resources

Resources for Teens


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line:
text VOICE to 20121

Disaster Distress Helpline:
1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

National Child Abuse Hotline:
1-800-422-4453