KDHE looking at impact of pandemic on mental health of children

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — Kansas’s top doctor is tackling mental health struggles in children.

KDHE Secretary Norman invited child psychologist Dr. Susan Voorhees to talk about the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on children and how the adults in their lives can help.

According to Dr. Voorhees, this is an especially confusing and scary time for kids. She says it’s important to not leave kids in the dark right now, parents should explain what is happening. Kids may be struggling to understand why things are so different — especially with so many changes coming for school in the fall.

Dr. Susan Voorhees, Psychologist, said, “The best thing for little kids and big kids, teenagers, is talk to them about what’s going on and give them a name for what they’re feeling.”

Of course, right now, everyone is having a hard time adjusting to the ‘new normal’ — both kids and adults. Secretary Norman says even he has struggled with stress during this time.

Secretary Lee Norman, KDHE, said, “I was deployed in 2017 and 2018 in the Middle East with the Army, and I came back and when this started I said, ‘This is Army deployment all over again.'”

Dr. Voorhees suggests that everyone take things one day at a time and try not to stress about things out of your control.

“If you break down the worry into little steps, the monster gets smaller,” said Dr. Voorhees.

Dr. Voorhees adds that it is normal for parents to feel overwhelmed right now.

She suggests taking even a few minute break from the kids, when possible.

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