Maintaining your Behavioral Health is a key component to maintaining your overall health, especially in today’s climate. For children, the need to monitor Behavioral Health is exponentially greater. Peak Vista Vice President of Behavioral Health, Dr. Sherri Sharp says, “Like any changes to a stressor or even traumatic event, reactions to the pandemic vary from boredom to anxiety, depression and overload in managing emotions such as anger and sadness.”
Dr. Sharp noted an increase in children/teens having issues with headaches, stomach aches, sleep, bad dreams, anxiety and grief due to the loss of significant life events such as graduations and proms. This life disruption causes regression in patient behavior such as tantrums, difficulty listening, lack of concentration and lack of interest in normal hobbies.
Peak Vista offers integrated Behavioral Health care at nearly every health center, and providers focus on whole-person health. Behavioral Health providers also perform telecare visits to provide care to children and adults alike. “With the opening of telecare options, patients have been eager to engage in services, as they find it convenient and easy. In addition, teens seem to be much more interested in services due to this option,” comments Dr. Sharp. It takes a village to raise and support children.
Resources for Children
Dr. Sharp suggests several resources for children, teens and families to cope with the pandemic:
- The CDC: Detailed information on how children can cope with the pandemic and a fun activity book to complete.
- The National Association for School Psychologists: Informational sheet for parents on helping their children cope.
- Sesame Street: Episodes to help explain the pandemic to children
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Tips for social distancing, quarantine and isolation during an Infectious Disease Outbreak.
- YMCA: Free virtual classes that are easy to access via their website, for improving physical activity in the comfort of your own home.
Preparing for School with a Back to School Physical
During times of change and uncertainty, people look for constants. The impact of COVID-19 is seen in restaurants, stores and most importantly, schools. Governor Polis recently announced that schools will re-open this fall in a hybrid fashion, combining in-person and online learning. Peak Vista encourages parents to schedule physicals before school is in session.
Back to school physicals include a medical history, vaccinations and a full head-to-toe physical. Peak Vista’s integrated approach to care takes this even further. We also perform behavioral health screenings and starting this year, have a dental check-up included in the physical. Having your child get their physical is the best time to set health and wellness goals for the year.
According to Peak Vista’s Vice President of Medical Services, Randall Seeman, “Back-to-school physicals are an opportunity that sometimes may go missed.” Most physicals ensure that a student can play CHSAA-sanctioned sports or have all the vaccinations they may need, but Seeman adds, “there’s more than just sports and vaccines that goes on during the school year.” Seeman further explains, “At that age, school-age, between 5 and 21 years of age. What a big transition time frame! There’s a lot going on with their bodies. They may have natural questions that they may not know who to ask.”