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COVID-19

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COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is a global pandemic that has shut down much of society, including many schools. The stress associated with this virus may understandably increase worry and anxiety in our students, staff, families, and communities. At the National Center for School Mental Health, we want to support you as you protect your health and the health of those around you. To that end, we have accumulated resources and tips for you to use and share with others in your networks. We will continue to update these resources as we learn more.

Conducting research or evaluation related to COVID-19? This repository of data collection instruments for assessing COVID-19-relevant behavioral health from the National Institutes of Health may be helpful.

School Staff & Administrators

Planning for the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Students, families, school staff, and mental health providers may experience a variety of challenges and opportunities when they transition back to school. There is an expected rise both in mental health problems and tools to address them. While many states may still be months away from reintroducing students into school buildings, we are gathering resources to help everyone prepare.

School Staff & Administrators

Wellness & Mental Health

Crisis Response

Suicide Prevention, Intervention & Postvention During COVID-19: What School-Based Staff Need to Know

The National Center for School Mental Health, in collaboration with the School-Based Health Alliance as part of the School Health Services National Quality Initiative, are pleased to host ongoing national webinars on innovation and emerging best practices in school health. The webinar Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention During COVID-19: What School-Based Staff Need to Know, was co-hosted with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), the nation's federally-funded resource center devoted to the implentation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The SPRC is a project of the Education Development Center.

 

Early Child Mental Health is created in collaboration with the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.

Early Childhood Mental Health

  • 12 Home Activities that Build Social Emotional Skills: Enjoy these ideas from Pathways 2 Success!
  • Child-Parent Psychotherapy - Lessons From the Virtual Field: A one-hour virtual webinar on YouTube by Dr. Kay Connors as part of the Haruv Institute Israel and Haruv USA at Oklahoma University Webinar Series: Haruv From the Couch.
  • Children in Lockdown: The Consequences of the Coronavirus for Children Living in Poverty: In this report, The Childhood Trust Champions for Children draws together emerging evidence from available studies to highlight some of the most pressing concerns that government and third sector organisations need to address to mitigate this crisis for children.
  • Children's Mental Health Resources During the COVID-19 Pandemic: This University of Maryland School of Medicine resource list contains general resources for children's mental health, 24-hr hotlines for children, supporting children emotionally, and booklists.
  • Coronavirus in Context: Building Resilience for Children: In this WebMD video, How Parents Can Turn a Stressful Situation into an Opportunity for Growth, Drs. John Whyte and Nadine Burke Harris discuss the positive impacts parents can develop in children during the pandemic.
  • COVID Books for Kids: This resource is a compilation of e-books for children to support their understanding and ability to cope and adapt to COVID-19 related changes at home and their communities.
  • COVID-19 Tips for Parents: This 18-minute video from Dr. Barbara Stroud, a child developmental psychologist, provides psychological tips and resources for parents supporting children during COVID-19.
  • Fighting the Big Virus: Trinka, Sam, and Littletown Work Together: A free children's story through Piplo Productions to help young children and their families begin to talk about their experiences and feelings related to the global coronavirus pandemic. There is also a companion booklet, a parent guide, and other activities provided. 
  • The Leadership Team's Guide for Re-opening Programs: This document from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations is designed to guide the Program Leadership Team around considerations for supporting children, families, and staff as they return to the program. The guidance includes Pyramid Model practices you know and encourages you to think about those strategies from a trauma-informed perspective. While the leadership team may not know who among children, families, and staff have or are experiencing trauma, a trauma-informed approach guides programs in providing a safe and nurturing environment where children, families, and staff can build resilience, feel safe, and recover.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has compiled COVID-19 resources to support adults working with children.
  • Parenting Under Stress - What Young Child Need to Thrive in Dangerous and Uncertain Times: A one-hour virtual webinar on YouTube by Dr. Alicia F. Lieberman as part of the Haruv Institute Israel and Haruv USA at Oklahoma University Webinar Series: Haruv From the Couch.
  • Professional Training Resources on Early Childhood Mental Health: This free professional development guide provides resources and trainings on early childhood mental health. Developed by the Center for Excellence in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health in collaboration the Frederick County Maryland's Safe Babies Court Team Program.
  • Reopening Childcare & Early Education Programs during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Focused Best Practice Recommendations - Children 0-6 years old have unique social-emotional needs and are at highest risk for potential developmental impact due to the heightened stress of the pandemic. Parents and caregivers, including childcare providers can directly reduce this negative impact through your nurturing, consistent, sensitive presence.
  • Risk Scale: There's a lot of uncertainty and aniety about going out during a pandemic. Here's how to think about the risk, in an infographic from Vox.
  • Stress and Support: This resource from Chandra Ghosh Ippen and Melissa Brymer at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, display cartoons of stressors and supports children may experiencing related to COVID-19.
  • What is COVID-19? And How Does it Relate to Child Development?: This infographic explains the basics of what COVID-19 is, and what it can mean for stress levels in both children and the adults who care for them. It also offers some easy and concrete solutions to help caregivers ensure that both they and the children they care for don’t experience long-term effects of stress. Finally, it explains how all of us as a society can work to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our fellow community members, both now and in the future.

General Resources on COVID-19

Stress Management & Self Care

Students & Families

For an example of creative at-home SEL lessons for students, visit the YouTube channel of Adam Parker, a school psychologist from Colorado who uploads themed SEL videos for children with a musical component.

Technology to Support School Mental Health

School closures, along with policies and guidance on physical/social distancing, have required a shift in school mental health practices globally. Technology offers many tools and strategies to support these changing conditions and to promote the well-being of our students. The NCSMH is working to support the evolving landscape of school mental health in the context of COVID-19, including how to leverage technology. Below are resources to assist you and your team in preparing for leveraging technology to support school mental health with your students, families, and colleagues.

Policies

Mental Health Promotion (Tier 1): Health and Wellness, Social Emotional Learning

Health and Wellness

  • EVERFI’S online health and wellness resources are designed to teach students to make healthy choices in a safe environment.

Social Emotional Learning

  • Closegap is a free web-based portal that educators can use to assess the social emotional status of their students each day, and get them additional support if needed.
  • EVERFI’s free, online social emotional learning resources are designed to equip educators with tools to nurture skills like compassion, leadership, conflict resolution, self-awareness, and resilience. Register here.
  • PATHS is an online social emotional learning program and curriculum that is currently free to educators. 
  • RethinkEd Social and Emotional Learning and Mental Health: This is an evidence-based program delivered on a digital platform and designed for easy implementation.
  • Webar-Supporting Students' SEL and Mental Heath Needs In the COVID-19 Era: This webinar from the Education Development Center covers how to support the SEL and Mental Health needs of students.

Training

Early Intervention & Treatment (Tiers 2 & 3): Guidance & Training

Telehealth during COVID-19 is changing the face of service delivery, and some of these changes may be here to stay. Especially for young people who grew up familiar with smart devices, teletherapy meets them where they live: on-screen. For more information, the authors of this lancet article discuss how COVID-19 provides an opportunity to improve mental health services.

General Telehealth Guidance

Training

Activites for Building Rapport

  • Creative Interventions for Online Therapy with Children Techniques to Build Rapport: This article, authored by Liana Lowenstein, MSW, is for mental health professionals who have been properly trained in providing online therapy to children. It lists and describes a variety of games and activities to build rapport with clients in a telehealth setting.
  • A variety of websites include free online games for clients. For many, you can send a direct link to the client and play with them to ensure they are not playing with a stranger.

Telehealth Platforms, Internet & Cellular Data

Telehealth Platforms

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. As such, covered health care providers may use popular applications that allow for video chats, including Apple Facetime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts Video, or Skype. This notification is effective immediately. In the announcement, OCR provides a list of some vendors that represent that they provide HIPAA-compliant video communication platforms and that they will enter into a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA).

Additional platforms to consider:

Public-facing video communication applications should not be used in the provision of telehealth by covered healthcare providers. This includes Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitch, TikTok, and other similar applications.

To prepare yourself to run virtual meetings effectively, review the Suicide Prevention Resource Center Effective Online Meetings Resource List. The list of compiled resources provides short and actionable guidance on how to manage and facilitate high-quality online meetings and adult learning events through virtual learning platforms.

Internet & Cellular Data

Some home internet and cellular service providers are improving their data plans, temporarily providing free internet, or temporarily waiving fees so more people can access quality internet without disruption at this time. Learn what your provider(s) are doing:

Telemental Health 101 Webinar

This 47-minute training, conducted by Jennifer Cox, LCSW-C, Director of the University of Maryland School Mental Health Program, provides an overview to help prepare school mental health clinicians to use telemental health to provide services and supports to students and families.