Credit: Sea Star Arts Photography
Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, is recognizing the importance of National Mental Health Awareness Month with resources to help the community identify and manage stress and anxiety, brought upon by current environments or past traumas. Dee Norton’s coping resources also include ways to reduce stress related to the COVID-19 outbreak and its residual effects.
“The diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders notes trauma exposure can be both experienced personally or vicariously – such as among children who witness severe domestic violence, or related to COVID-19, among first responders working with those that have severe illness or death,” said Dr. Carole Swiecicki, Executive Director of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “This pandemic is one with threatened health consequences to all, which alerts our danger response and puts us in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode. That makes processing thoughts and feelings harder to manage. Additionally, because many are isolated from typical supports right now, it is even more important for people to share how they are feeling and reach out for support if they are distressed.”
Studies indicate that children who have experienced abuse or trauma are at increased risk for developing emotional and behavioral difficulties.
“Parents are also experiencing significant stress during this time. We at Dee Norton have a ‘double mission’ of helping parents to manage their anxiety and stress while modeling for their children,” said Swiecicki.
The following recommendations may help a family manage stress:
Take a break from the news. Information overload can be overwhelming. Try to switch off your screen once in a while.
Take care of your body. Meditate, eat well-balanced meals, take deep breaths. Aside from staying safe, stay healthy.
Make time to unwind. Use a few minutes of your day to do something you enjoy.
Connect with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling.
Dee Norton’s efforts to help the community include a new Mindfulness Minutes
series offering coping tools for families to reduce stress.
To learn more about Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, visit www.deenortoncenter.org
. The website contains relevant pandemic resources, including tips for speaking with your child about COVID-19 and technology safety tips.
About Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center
The Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center is the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families. Primary services include forensic interviews, medical examinations and mental health assessments as well as immediate support and coordination. The center also provides evidence-based therapy to child victims and their families. For more information, visit www.deenortoncenter.org