Kansas City Star: Coronavirus anxiety. Watch these mental health warning signs, Kansas City experts say
While you’re protecting your physical self from the coronavirus, don’t neglect your emotional self — or that of your loved ones.
That’s the fervent advice of local mental health professionals, who are urging everyone to take special care to attend to their mental health needs during the COVID-19 shutdown.
“We know a lot about what causes anxiety, and this pandemic is the perfect storm,” says psychologist Carla Counts Allan of Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “We don’t know what will happen, we don’t know how long it will last, and many of us have lost a sense of control. Coupled with the loss of our routines and social support, the world can feel upside down right now.”
For children, changes in mood and behavior “are almost to be expected” right now, notes Children’s Mercy pediatric psychologist Christina Low Kapalu. Such changes, she says, can include increased irritability, social withdrawal, sadness or worry, tearfulness, chronic changes in sleeping or eating habits, increased somatic complaints (headaches, stomachaches), and a strong focus on death, dying and the safety of family members.
“It would be expected that many children will display some of these symptoms during this time,” Kapalu says. “They become of greater concern when symptoms occur in groups (more than a few symptoms at the same time), throughout the day and for many days or weeks, and impact their ability to participate in daily activities.”
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