COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health in a Locked-Down World
While some countries and U.S. states are beginning to reopen businesses and other gathering places, the pandemic is still very much with us. Physical distancing will likely be a way of life until a vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available. So much change, including the threat of illness, and grief of those who have lost loved ones, means that mental health is a great concern.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to support our mental health at this time, especially when caring for young children or other family members. In this episode of The Brain Architects, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Archana Basu, Research Associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. They discuss what supporting your own mental health can look like, as well as ways to support children you care for at this time. They also talk about what mental health professionals all over the world are doing to help take care of our societies in the midst of the pandemic, and how they're preparing for the challenges that come next.
Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host
Dr. Archana Basu, Research Associate, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and clinical psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies: Self-Care for Providers
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies: Vicarious Trauma Toolkit
Massachusetts General Hospital: How to Talk to Your Children About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Massachusetts General Hospital: Parenting At a Challenging Time: Supporting children facing the illness/ loss of a loved one
Massachusetts General Hospital: Psychiatry guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19
National Child Traumatic Stress Network pandemic resources
SAMHSA Disaster Distress 24/7 Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746
Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I’m your host, Sally Pfitzer. Since our last podcast series was released, things have changed drastically as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. During this unprecedented time, we’d like to share resources and provide guidance that you may find helpful. So, we are creating a series of podcast episodes that address COVID-19 and child development. This episode is the fifth in our series, and todays guests are Dr. Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Archana Basu, Research Associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Clinical Psychologist and Massachusetts General Hospital. Thank you both for being here I’m really looking forward to the conversation.
Karestan: Thank you Sally. It's great to be here.
Archana: Thank you so much.
Sally: So Karestan, what makes this pandemic different from other traumatic events that many people have experienced in terms of mental health?
Karestan: There are a number of characteristics that make the COVID-19 pandemic different than other traumatic events, even than other disasters. I actually lived in New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and I’ve seen some similarities in terms of this in that things were shut down, there was a pervasive feeling of threat, there was loss of life, and it was very disruptive and it was something that people really – in New York, anyway – talked about for a long time. It persisted and affected everyone in the city. What’s different about this is the length of time people are being affected, how pervasive it is in terms of our community but the state, nationally,