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Helping children find closure as school year ends

Re-openings raise questions
Helping children find closure as school year ends Helping children find closure as school year ends
Sandra Schiele, Counsel House

Since my last column, I have heard from a few of my patients at Counsel House in Corydon (owned by Terry Lawton), where I practice as a licensed behavioral health specialist, that they have had their own unique graduation celebrations. Some have had a parade, some have had cookouts and others have had virtual graduations.

It’s important, for our emotional well being, to remember that being unique or different from the norm is acceptable and should be embraced. Years from now, your children will tell their children how you helped them through the pandemic of 2020. They will share how, despite the obstacles, parents still came up with creative ways to celebrate.

Unfortunately, there are some children who weren’t afforded any of these opportunities. Even if you have a special dinner in your child’s honor, cooking their favorite foods and giving a small congratulatory speech, will mean a lot to them. Have family and friends send congratulatory texts and videos.

Remind your children that they can always make a special thank-you card for their teachers and other school officials. Hold onto them and check with your respective schools to see if these can be mailed or brought in at a later date. It will help children feel they have achieved a little more closure as the school year ends. There’s no need to be saddened by the change, although many understandingly are; instead, look at it as an opportunity to make special memories.

For those returning to work, it’s been tough. My patients are adjusting, yet, to a “new normal.” Some have been working this entire time and are exhausted by the added hours, while others really need the income to make ends meet and are just now returning. Either way, this has been tough for all of us.

Some patients say their supervisors have given them one can of Lysol and instructed them to share it with the whole office; whether there is plenty in stock is unknown.

Some patients working in factory settings say it can be viewed as “silly” for the men to be wearing masks. Complaints about how hot masks are to wear all day have also been expressed. There are differences in perspective as to whether any of this will really slow down the virus.

I’ve noticed convenience stores now handing out soda cups, lids and straws instead of them being there for everyone to readily access. I’ve had a few people say they were not comfortable with everyone touching them and possibly putting them back. For someone suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, this is likely a concern.

I’ve had a couple of patients return to substance use during the pandemic, and others become extremely forgetful, as though there’s nothing grounding them in time and place.

Next time, we will continue to look at the challenges faced from re-opening by those who suffer from behavioral health conditions. Until then, stay safe and stay positive; we will get through this together.

If we can be of assistance to you or a loved one, contact us at 812-738-3277 or via email at [email protected]. For 24/7 crisis and information services, you can also call Louisville’s Hope Now Hotline at 1-800-221-0446.