The novel coronavirus pandemic – and subsequent stay-at-home orders — have taught Michiganders how to interact in different ways.
For many, the recent protests have only added to anxiety and increased social isolation. To help residents improve their mental health, Wayne State University is offering free online counseling sessions with psychology and counseling students.
Click on the player above to hear Dr. Lauren Mangus on Wayne State’s free counseling program.
Dr. Lauren Mangus, a Wayne State Professor of Psychology, oversees the program. She says the world has changed and it can be difficult to adapt to a new way of living.
“Life as it once was, it’s completely changed for so many of us,” she says. ”Not to mention the emotional psychological bandwidth that’s being taxed for many of us right now.”
On dealing with grief when gatherings were limited
“Grief is really complex. It’s really difficult because it’s a very personalized, individualized process. But it is never completely finalized. But at the same time when we have different ways to celebrate life, and celebrate loved ones, and to get that support can really help us through the grieving process. So that is really complicated. I actually have a close friend of mine who lost their father to COVID. And it’s been really difficult and it’s, from not just in the professional world, but personally that’s been difficult for me to not be able to be there to support my good friend, you know, just to not be able to hug your friend or loved ones in that grief process is really complicated.”
On supporting your kids emotionally during these times
“It’s really being mindful about, you know, how we’re spending our time and if things are supporting us, or if they’re kind of stressing us out more, where I kind of see more of the challenges are with kids in that connection. They’re missing their friends at school, they’re missing recess. And you know, in the therapy that I’m doing, some of the kids I’m working with, they’re like, can I just have one playdate? Just one half hour, all I ask, and it’s, you know, it’s so it’s so sweet and so challenging. And, you know, we work on ways that we can connect, and that’s the important thing.”
On keeping kids engaged when a playdate isn’t feasible just yet
“One thing that I’m seeing is a lot of families, they are doing fun little adventures. Like maybe doing backyard scavenger hunts, or neighborhood scavenger hunts that are safe. They’re able to do parties and things through through Zoom. I will tell you one of the chief complaints that I’m getting from parents is technology use. Because students are having to engage with technology instructionally all day, but then that’s how they socialize with a lot of their friends through, video games and things like that. I know some families are setting up like backyard camping — situations where they’re putting up a tent or building forts and things like that, that can be really fun, especially with the summer months coming around.”