Lincoln provides several mental health services for children, caregivers

According to the Kaiser Health Network, 140,000 children have lost one or both parent or primary caregiver due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — According to the Kaiser Health Network, 140,000 children have lost one or both parent or primary caregiver due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cathy Johnson, a behavorial health coordinator at Family Service in Lincoln, says she’s seen a dramatic increase in suicide and anxiety in kids anywhere from three to 17 years old over the last year. Often, it’s triggered from the pandemic constantly looming around us.

“Those children are expressing a lot of trauma and grief,” Johnson said. “Oftentimes saying they never get a chance to say goodbye. They often have a fear that they’re going to die or they’re going to lose another loved one. So it’s a constant increase in anxiety.”

Children aren’t the only ones either with increased levels of anxiety and added stress. Parents and caregivers are also struggling right now.

“We’ve had schools tell us that we’ve had parents that are normally very responsible not get back to them,” Johnson said. “Parents come in very edgy. And when parents are stressed that puts stress on kids.”

Terri Marti with the non-profit “Families Inspiring Families” says the uncertainty of the pandemic is the most difficult thing for families, especially parents.

“We don’t have those answers and that’s hard to navigate by yourself,” Marti said.

Luckily, there are plenty of services available for both parents and children.

Family Service provides things like mental health professionals at schools for your kids in case parents or caregivers can’t take time off of work. Plus, WIC (women, infants, children) provides food benefits, nutrition education, breastfeeding help, and the support you need to help keep your family healthy and strong.

“Families Inspiring Families” has more personal options, giving parents a chance to connect with people who have gone through or are going through similar situations as them.

“Financial, emotional, parent-to-parent support to help you get through that because yeah, it’s nasty out there,” Marti said.

However, whatever option you choose for you or your children, the biggest step is just asking for help in the first place.

“That’s incredibly hard to do and it’s the best thing you can do,” Marti said.

For additional information, you can check out the Family Service Lincoln or Families Inspiring Families websites.

Categories: Nebraska News, News