UofL Health – Peace Hospital encourages all individuals to play a role in creating a healthier place for children and families. According to The Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the most common type of maltreatment is neglect. In 2018, about 4.3 million reports were made to child protective services concerning the safety and well-being of approximately 7.8 million children. Last year, an estimated 678,000 children were found to be victims of child abuse or neglect nationwide.

The coronavirus—or COVID-19—can put additional pressure on already vulnerable children, youth and families. It can cause anxiety, stress and uncertainty. They are felt especially strongly by children of all ages. Children have been faced with school closures, cancelled events, and separation from friends. They need to feel loved and supported now more than ever. It’s important to obtain current information from trusted news sources and not from social media. Knowing the facts and the actual risks can help reduce stress in yourself and others. Take time to have conversations with your kids about their questions, concerns or fears. These are some tips and strategies to help:

Be kind to yourself. Most of us were not prepared for this. Anxiety, fear, worry and grief are all normal reactions to abnormal circumstances.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.

  • Engage in fun and spontaneous activities with children
  • Go “camping” in the living room
  • Make a pillow fort
  • Create a nature scavenger hunt
  • Cooking teaches science and math
  • Yard work teaches about nature and can inspire creative art projects
  • Reading together enriches vocabulary and listening skills

Finally, remember that social distancing does not mean we need to remain socially isolated. Although we cannot shake someone’s hand or hug a loved one, scientific studies have confirmed that smiling is one of the simplest things you can do for yourself and towards others. It relieves stress, elevates your mood, boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure and makes you look younger. Remain socially connected!

UofL Health – Peace Hospital is open 24/7 for no-charge crisis assessments:

2020 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205
502-451-3333 | 800-451-3637

If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, call the Child Protection Hotline at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331.

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Kelly Gillooly, M.Ed., LCADC

Kelly Gillooly, M.Ed., LCADC, is the director of behavioral health outreach at UofL Health – Peace Hospital. She is a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor. Kelly has worked in the behavioral health field for more than 25 years and has been with Peace Hospital since 2012.

All posts by Kelly Gillooly, M.Ed., LCADC
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