How Ready Are We to Support Kids Through This Trauma?

Heather Rowan-Kenyon

Heather Rowan-Kenyon, Associate Professor and Director of the Educational Leadership & Higher Education Program at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, has recently published a report on supporting students through trauma in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rowan-Kenyon and Mandy Savitz-Romer, at Harvard University, surveyed counselors to aggregate their needs in a time that is uniquely challenging to students’ mental health. In Education Weekly, they write: “It will be tempting for schools to direct resources and attention this fall to bolstering the instructional core, given well-founded fears of learning loss and the widening of academic inequities. But our research suggests that districts need to focus just as much on deploying staff and policies that promote students’ social and emotional development. School counselors have a critical but often overlooked role to play in meeting this urgent need.”

Read the full editorial in Education Weekly.

Moral Distress in Nurses and Other Health Care Professionals

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, it is becoming increasingly evident that many on the frontlines are, understandably, distressed. Distressed by the high volumes of patients and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE). Anxious about not having enough ventilators as they face unprecedented resource allocation decisions. Grieving from watching patients die alone, health care workers, first responders and chaplains may experience moral distress due to the COVID-19 crisis, and this can affect them psychologically, morally and spiritually. It is incumbent on Catholic hospitals and long-term care facilities to care for their personnel, with particular focus on the frontliners who are experiencing more of this kind of harm.

Journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States

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Bereavement in the Time of Coronavirus: Unprecedented Challenges Demand Novel Interventions

Deborah Carr
Deborah Carr

COVID-19 fatalities exemplify “bad deaths” and are distinguished by physical discomfort, difficulty breathing, social isolation, psychological distress, and care that may be discordant with the patient’s preferences. Each of these death attributes is a well-documented correlate of bereaved survivors’ symptoms of depression, anxiety, and anger. Yet the grief experienced by survivors of COVID-related deaths is compounded by the erosion of coping resources like social support, contemporaneous stressors including social isolation, financial precarity, uncertainty about the future, lack of routine, and the loss of face-to-face mourning rituals that provide a sense of community and uplift. National efforts to enhance advance care planning may help dying patients to receive care that is concordant with the preferences of them and their families. Virtual funeral services, pairing bereaved elders with a telephone companion, remote counseling, and encouraging “continuing bonds” may help older adults adapt to loss in the time of pandemic.

Journal of Aging & Social Policy 32:4-5, 425-431

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