COVID-19 CARE FOR THE CAREGIVER. Please review the link for the full report, overflowing with information to assist caregivers within school systems. We know personally that this separation from normalcy is affecting many of our most valuable professionals — those who care for our children’s academic success.
We’ve pulled a few details out but please, if this applies to you as an Administrator, Educator, or Mental Health Professional, do yourself a favor and read the entire pdf. Some of the content includes:
“Grief is a natural response to such a loss, and it is not unusual for educators to feel a sense of sadness, emptiness, guilt, anxiety, and/or anger. It is important that school leaders and other educators allow themselves to grieve and provide a healthy model of mourning for others by talking about the sense of loss and sharing their feelings with others.
…the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing event that has the potential to cause chronic stress. Chronic stress causes the body to stay in a constant state of alertness, despite being in no immediate danger. Prolonged chronic stress can disturb all the major systems in the body (e.g., immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep) and can increase risk for psychiatric disorders and some physical disorders such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
It is important to remember that a variety of factors will influence a person’s individual reactions, including characteristics of the person themselves such as preexisting risk factors like mental illness.
Requirements for physical distancing make identifying and supporting vulnerable staff and colleagues much more challenging. However, there are some strategies that school leaders might find helpful in this regard. First, if you are aware of a staff member or colleague who was already struggling with mental health challenges or significant stressors before the pandemic, make a point to reach out to them virtually on a regular basis.
Engage in self-care activities that help promote a sense of safety and security, it strengthens the entire educational system and can lead to better outcomes for children and adults alike.”
CARE FOR THE CAREGIVER
Strategies school leaders can use for creating a climate of support include the following:
- Provide school personnel with access to support from crisis responders and/or mental health professionals in the midst of this crisis to facilitate adaptive coping and recovery.
- Support a culture in which adults feel comfortable asking for help and/or to take a break without being perceived as being unable to do their job.
- Be aware of the potential stigma of school personnel accessing mental health services and EAPs.
- Have mental health staff, crisis team members, and administrators available via regular virtual office hours and/or virtual group or caregiver meetings to process and problem-solve—this is one way to ensure that staff are adequately supported during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Utilize substitute teachers for those educators who have been significantly impacted (e.g., those who have to take care of sick family members or are ill themselves).
- Providing opportunities to reduce feelings of social isolation during times of social distancing by encouraging non-work related virtual social connections.
HOW TO HELP YOURSELF AND OTHERS
- Create a structure and routine for the day.
- Reduce and limit exposure to media coverage of the pandemic.
- Attend to your physical self-care.
- Care for your emotional health.
- Maintain social connections and focus on social care.”
We want to thank Tia Battey, ED.S, M.ED., School Psychologist and Proprietor of Collaborative Efforts Youth and Family Services for providing these resources. Please feel free to contact her for more information and clinical ways you and the children you care for can stay mentally strong.