Mental Health Resources During COVID-19
Dear Hyde Park CSD Families,
We miss you! We enjoy our regular interactions with students and families, and like you, we are adjusting to “social distancing.” This is a new experience for all of us and we are in this TOGETHER!
In an effort to support the HPCSD community, we are offering the following tips and resources to support mental health and wellbeing:
- Maintain a schedule. Students are accustomed to a school day that not only includes academics, but also socialization, physical activity, creativity, and nutrition.
- Provide opportunities for socialization, while conforming to social distancing practices. In-person contact with those who live outside of the home should be avoided, but other means of social contact are encouraged. Phone calls, video chatting, and texting/messaging provide mechanisms for social interaction (provide adult supervision as necessary). Allow students to have contact with friends, as well as family.
- Limit exposure to the news. Overexposure to news about COVID-19 can be scary and traumatizing, particularly in younger students. We encourage parents to watch or read the news and convey relevant information to students in a developmentally-appropriate and positive manner.
- Be confident and reassuring. The manner in which parents and caregivers convey information to children and adolescents impacts how that information is interpreted. Simply put, if parents appear overly worried, children and adolescents will become overly worried. As an alternative, we encourage you to focus on the Sources of Strength in your family’s life (FDR students are familiar with SoS): Family Support, Positive Friends, Mentors, Healthy Activities, Generosity, Spirituality, Medical Access, and Mental Health.
- Keep academic skills sharp. Our teachers have created work packets for classes. All of these packets are available at www.hpcsd.org. Students should be working through these packets at a steady pace. Keeping academic skills sharp will promote future learning.
- Encourage physical activity. Physical activity contributes to mental health, as well as physical health. In addition, the weather is getting warmer and our students are accustomed to being outside for recess. Hyde Park has many parks and trails, which can be a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and an escape from the home. Keep in mind, however, that playgrounds are closed. There are also plenty of opportunities for physical activity at home. While competitive sports with physical contact should be avoided, now is a great time to work on sports skills. Whether students are preparing for town sports or FDR varsity sports, there are plenty of skills that can be developed in the driveway, lawn, empty lot, or even the garage. Examples include dribbling a basketball/soccer ball, playing catch, or even going for a run.
- Encourage creativity. Many of our students are accustomed to art and music in their daily lives. Students can color, draw, paint, create crafts, and practice their instruments at home. There are increasingly more videos being posted online, offering instruction from famous artists and musicians. During the last week, we have heard of students drawing along with artists such as Mo Willems and playing their instruments along with musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma.
- Take a (virtual) field trip! Many museums, zoos, and cultural institutions are offering virtual tours through their websites. Some ideas include the Smithsonian museums, national parks, the Cincinnati Zoo, The Louvre, presidential libraries, etc. Click here for a few ideas.
- Teach home skills. Many parents are familiar with “Home Ec” classes from their own schooling. Hyde Park students take LAWS (Life and Workforce Skills) at HMS. Now is a great time to involve students of all ages in home chores, most notably meal preparation. The internet is filled with recipes and cooking videos, with some even focusing on meals that can be made with items often found in the pantry. This is a great opportunity for parents to bond with their children.
- READ! While more emphasis is being placed on online learning - and we have just referenced a number of videos - reading is as important as ever. Now is the time to get students hooked on reading. Look for books that match the student’s interest. E-books from the library are also an option and are free.
- Encourage hand washing. Even if your family is completely isolated, now is a great time to promote proper handwashing. Click here to view a video from the CDC (the video is silent).
- Be aware of warning signs of stress which may lead to poor mental health. These signs can include constant intrusive thoughts (or a hyperfocus on specific thoughts), difficulty making decisions, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite, excessive worry, irritability, withdrawal, and substance abuse. In isolation, some of these signs are common reactions to stress; however, multiple signs over a prolonged period of time may require professional help. The Dutchess Helpline is available via voice or text.
We look forward to seeing students in our schools again soon!
- The School Counselors, School Psychologists, and School Social Workers of the Hyde Park Central School District
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR THE HPCSD COMMUNITY
- Dutchess County Helpline - call or text (845) 485-9700
- Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) Emotional Support Line: 1-844-863-9314
- NYS OMH: Feeling Stressed About Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Managing Anxiety in an Anxiety-Provoking Situation
- Calm.com Resources
- MindYeti.com on YouTube.com Resources
- Free Social-Emotional Activities from Second Step
- How Teenagers Can Protect Their Mental Health During Coronavirus- UNICEF
- Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource - National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
- How to Cope at Home With Kids During the Coronavirus Outbreak - Consumer Reports
- 5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus - NY Times
- Helping Children After Tragic Events: Stop Watching, Start Talking - NYS Department of Health (DOH)
HYDE PARK CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT MENTAL HEALTH STAFF
North Park Elementary School
Hadas Liebermann, School Social Worker
Violet Avenue School
R.T. Corkery, School Psychologist
Haviland Middle School
Linda Boughton, School Counselor (Grade 6)
Claire Miller-Hathaway, School Counselor (Grade 7)
Jamie Myers, School Counselor (Grade 8)
Jennifer Kemnitzer, School Psychologist (Students A-L)
Lisa Macklin, School Psychologist (Students M-Z)
Maureen Russo, School Social Worker
Regina Hernandez, Prevention Counselor - Dutchess CAPE
F.D. Roosevelt High School
Katie Wixted, School Counselor (Students A-Da)
Sadiki Kitson, School Counselor (Students De-Hq Community Based Program Students, & ENL Students)
Elise Giani-Levy, School Counselor (Students Hu-Mi)
Rebecca Moore, School Counselor (Student Mo-Rog & ENL Students)
Monique Jenkinson, School Counselor (Students Roj-Z)
Dan Hurley, School Psychologist (Students A-L)
Ashley Billings, School Psychologist (Students M-Z)
Mandy LaLuna, School Social Worker (Students A-L)
Aaron Berrios, School Social Worker (Students M-Z)
Regina Hernandez, Prevention Counselor - Dutchess CAPE