COVID-19 has changed the way children experience the death of a loved one. Although difficult under any circumstance, bereavement is even harder when mourners can’t gather. Barriers to comforting mourning rituals and supportive social communities can make it harder for children to grieve in healthy ways, while increasing the risk for maladaptive grief reactions.
“Families provide a kind of protective membrane for children when crazy things are happening around them,” said William Saltzman, PhD. Dr. Saltzman is a faculty member of the REACH program Child/Adolescent Training in Evidence-Based Psychotherapies. “Families really have been on the front line throughout the pandemic,” Dr. Saltzman said. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride from the beginning, with abrupt school shutdowns; the exhaustion of becoming the 24/7 caregiver, teacher, playmate, and breadwinner; and now having to figure out largely on their own how to navigate the upcoming school year.”
A medical appointment can be intimidating and scary for a child with a history of trauma. Still, this visit might be the first time a patient shares that they have been sexually or physically abused or that they are terrified to live with their fighting parents during COVID-19. Your role as a primary care provider (PCP) is critical. Your interactions with your patient need to feel safe. As constrained as your time is, you must make every minute count toward establishing a connection.
“This is the first conference I’ve been to where I felt like the entire weekend will impact my practice I think that is due to the engaging, hands-on and fun format. It kept me engaged throughout. Also, I feel like the materials we received are sending me out into the world armed with the tools I need to put the information I learned into practice.”