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Helping children deal with COVID-19





Helping children deal with COVID-19

PIERRE – With school cancelled for two weeks in South Dakota and other social distancing techniques being strongly recommended for the foreseeable future, children might feel anxious, isolated and depressed. The Department of Social Services (DSS) has resources available to help kids and adults alike deal with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With so much uncertainty and the rapid pace at which the situation is changing in South Dakota and across the globe, it may be hard for parents and caregivers to know what to tell children,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “The Department of Social Services is committed to ensuring that resources are available to bolster good mental health.”

The Center for Disease Control recommends that parents or caregivers talk to children about what is happening in a way that they can understand. “It is important to keep the message simple and appropriate for each child’s age,” Gill said. “Reassure them that there is a plan to keep them safe.”

Guidance to help reduce anxiety is available by clicking on the DSS COVID-19 Resources link on the DSS website at covid.sd.gov.

“Feelings of stress and anxiety aren’t exclusive to children,” Gill said. “Anyone can struggle with feelings of loneliness and depression and taking care of your mental health during these times is just as important as your physical health.”

DSS has resources to help children and adults in South Dakota dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues. For more information about behavioral health services, please contact the Division of Behavioral Health online at www.dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth, by calling 605.367.5236 or by emailing to DSSbh@state.sd.us.

If you or someone you know may be in crisis or contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.bethe1sd.com.