Millard South Counseling
The Safe2Help, 531-299-SAFE (7233), is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also email Students struggling with depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying or anything else can call the hotline at any time and speak to a trained counselor. Students, parents, and community members can also use the Safe Schools Hotline to report unsafe behavior. Safe2Help is a partnership with Boys Town National Hotline. For more information, including how to reach a counselor through email, chat or text, go to www.Safe2HelpNE.org
HELPFUL TIPS FOR STUDENTS:
Try to maintain a regular routine. Go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time.
Practice self-care. Exercise. Eat healthy foods. Drink plenty of water. Get outside & get fresh air as much as possible. Maintain good personal hygiene.
Make school a priority. Stay on top of the remote learning expectations. Check Google Classroom & pay attention to teachers’ expectations. Email teachers if you need help with homework or have a question. Have a Zoom study session with classmates. Utilize your resources; text, SnapChat, e-mail, call or FaceTime friends and classmates if you need help.
Connect with others. Share your feelings, thoughts, and worries if you’re feeling anxious or uncomfortable. Keep communication open with your parents or guardians.
Connect with your school counselor. Email your school counselor or use the Counselor Request Form, and your counselor will email you at their earliest convenience.
Try something new. Use this time to learn new things. Learn a new recipe, plant a garden, learn a new language on Duolingo, keep a journal, do something for others, or try a new hobby.
Utilize healthy coping skills for difficult emotions. Use self-soothing techniques that have worked for you before in times of stress and anxiety. Practice deep breathing, meditation, journaling, talking to others, taking a walk, etc.
Remember that this is temporary. For thousands of years, people have relied upon the phrase “This too shall pass”, which means that everything is temporary. We can do difficult things, and this will not last forever.
TIPS FOR PARENTS/CAREGIVERS: Managing Youth Anxiety During COVID-19
School closures, activity cancellations, and adhering to the new concept of “social distancing” has quickly become a new reality for our kids and teenagers. Helping our youth make sense of the changes taking place in the world around them is something educators and parents across Nebraska are facing. It is normal to feel fear, uncertainty and worry during wide-scale disease outbreaks that are contagious, especially when the normalcy of everyday life is turned upside down. Additionally, it is hard to escape the endless news cycles detailing the spread COVID-19, which can increase feelings of anxiety.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these feelings can feel even more overwhelming for a child/teen who is already suffering from an anxiety disorder or who may be predisposed to feeling more anxious during times of uncertainty.
Below are tips to help communicate with your children and teens about the Coronavirus:
Model Calmness- children are perceptive to the behaviors of others in their environment. By behaving calmly, you are sending a message to your child/teen that there is no need to panic. Monitor your own feelings and reactions and if you are feeling anxious, take a break or pause to take a few deep breaths before communicating with your child/teen.
Maintain Normalcy- changes to everyday routines and schedules can be stressful for kids. During school closure, structure during the day may help ease anxiety. Attempt to maintain normal household routines as much as possible. For example, stick to regular mealtimes and bedtimes and build time into the day for educational and enrichment activities as well as exercise.
Listen and Validate- Actively listen to your child/teen’s thoughts, feelings, fears and questions about COVID-19. Express empathy for how they are feeling. Uncertainty about the future can be hard for adults to process, it can be equally difficult for our youth. Acknowledge and be careful not to dismiss their feelings. Validating feelings can help our children and teens feel understood and enhance their ability to process emotions. It may also be helpful to inform them that there are lots of other children and teens around the world who are experiencing some of the same feelings.
Keep Talking- Be mindful that your child/teen may be hearing about COVID-19 on social media, from friends and through news outlets. Limiting and/or monitoring the exposure of your child/teen to news cycles can help ease anxiety. Help kids to understand that every news story may not have all the accurate details. Educate yourself on the facts from reliable sources such as the CDC or your local Department of Health and Human Services. Do your best to answer questions honestly but remember that it is okay if you don’t have an answer. Let kids know that as you get more information, you will update them. Keep in mind that what we share with a younger child is different than what is developmentally appropriate to share with a teenager.
Help Sit with Anxiety- Help your child/teen recognize and verbalize the experience of anxiety rather than avoiding it or trying to distract from it. Putting feelings into words can help individuals process emotions. Sitting with unpleasant feelings can be challenging but it can help kids to realize that it is an experience they can get through and it doesn’t have to define them or their life.
Source: School Community Intervention and Prevention April 2020
From the April SCIP Newsletter. SCIP is funded in part by: Lincoln Public Schools, United Way of Lincoln/Lancaster County, Region V Systems,Nebraska DHHS: Division of Behavioral Health and Region 4 Behavioral Health System Help Practice Relaxation Strategies- Relaxation strategies like mindful breathing exercises can help children/teens feel calmer. Mindfulness has been found to change the brain in the same way that exercise changes the body. Several apps offer free guided mindfulness exercises such as, “Smiling Mind”, “Stop, Breathe, Think” and “Insight Meditation Timer”.