Dear ESM Community,
Even though the school buildings are closed, our staff members are available to help students protect their mental health. Many students are experiencing significant life changes due to the pandemic. Current news headlines, social distancing measures and a lack of routine can trigger different emotions. We are here to help students cope with these changes.
Our school counselors, social workers, psychologists are available to speak personally with students, parents and guardians. To set up an individual appointment with a school mental health professional at any of the district’s five school buildings, please see the links below.
All the best - ESM's Mental Health Team
Community resources available for families
In addition to school mental health personnel, there are several community resources available to families through this period of uncertainty.
Here are some suggestions and resources to consider as you provide support to your child regarding COVID-19.
HELPING LONG ISLANDERS SURVIVE CORONAVIRUS
Coping with COVID-19: A Conversation About Mental Health
Below is a recording of April 14's event along with supplemental materials and links related to this discussion.
Self-Help Guide: Coping with Fear & Sadness During a Pandemic
How to Reduce COVID-19-Induced Anxiety
FREE Mental Health Services Guide
Other FREE Resources
We're here to help and keep you informed with our dedicated coverage on newsday.com, e-newsletters and, of course, in print.
Look out for more weekly webinars in this series including guest speakers from government, health care, and business to provide further insights and actionable advice.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Center Hotline: 1-877-7-CRISIS or 1-877-727-4747
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
Trevor Lifeline – LGBTQ 1-866-488-7386
Teen Line 1-800-TLC-TEEN or 1-800-852-8336
Veterans & Military Families 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
National Association of School Psychologists - Guidelines
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If parents seem overly worried, children’s anxiety may rise. Parents should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy. However, children also need factual, age appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk and concrete instruction about how to avoid infections and spread of disease. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety.
Remain calm and reassuring.
- Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions.
- What you say and do about COVID-19, current prevention efforts, and related events can either increase or decrease your children’s anxiety.
- If true, emphasize to your children that they and your family are fine.
- Remind them that you and the adults at their school are there to keep them safe and healthy.
- Let your children talk about their feelings and help reframe their concerns into the appropriate perspective.
Make yourself available.
- Children may need extra attention from you and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions.
- It is important that they know they have someone who will listen to them; make time for them.
- Tell them you love them and give them plenty of affection.
Avoid excessive blaming.
- When tensions are high, sometimes we try to blame someone.
- It is important to avoid stereotyping any one group of people as responsible for the virus.
- Bullying or negative comments made toward others should be stopped and reported to the school.
- Be aware of any comments that other adults are having around your family. You may have to explain what comments mean if they are different than the values that you have at home.
Monitor television viewing and social media.
- Limit television viewing or access to information on the Internet and through social media. Try to avoid watching or listening to information that might be upsetting when your children are present.
- Speak to your child about how many stories about COVID-19 on the Internet may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
- Talk to your child about factual information of this disease—this can help reduce anxiety.
- Constantly watching updates on the status of COVID-19 can increase anxiety—avoid this.
- Be aware that developmentally inappropriate information (i.e., information designed for adults) can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young
- Engage your child in games or other interesting activities instead.
Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible.
- Keep to a regular schedule, as this can be reassuring and promotes physical health.
- Encourage your children to keep up with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, but don’t push them if they seem overwhelmed.
Be honest and accurate.
- In the absence of factual information, children often imagine situations far worse than reality.
- Don’t ignore their concerns, but rather explain that at the present moment very few people in this country are sick with COVID-19.
- Children can be told this disease is thought to be spread between people who are in close contact with one another—when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- It is also thought it can be spread when you touch an infected surface or object, which is why it is so important to protect yourself.