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social distancing covid 19

Returning to Work Post-COVID-19

Throughout the world, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically affect the lives of individuals. As our communities continue to reopen, many people are struggling to enter back into the workforce without any negative emotions. 

 

When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, hundreds of millions of people were forced to lockdown, abruptly transition to working from home, or for those that did not have that option, lose their jobs entirely.

 

For months the future looked and felt uncertain for so many people, and in some respects it still does. Even with a large portion of the U.S. population receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the fear of returning to work and potentially being exposed lingers. 

 

As we all transition into this new normal, and as businesses start to bring back their employees, many individuals returning to work are struggling to feel safe. After more than a year of either not working, or working remotely, many employees are experiencing return-to-work anxiety coupled with stress at the thought of returning to an office setting. After all, for over a year, people have been repeatedly advised how deadly this virus is and how important it is to social distance. The thought of being close to others is terrifying for some individuals. Employees are inquiring as to what steps their employers are taking to keep them safe as they transition back to work amid a pandemic? We’ve compiled some information to help both employees and employers as we ease back into the workplace. 

What is the Risk of COVID-19 Contact in the Workplace?

 

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 depends on the likelihood of coming into prolonged, close contact with others, having frequent physical interaction with others who may be infected with the virus, as well as coming into contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. 

Are There Preventative Measures a Person Can Take to Avoid Exposure?

 

Many employers are seeking the support of an occupational health and safety advisor to carry out a rapid risk assessment. This is used for determining their staff’s exposure risk to implement preventative measures. Before returning to work, verify what, if any, preventative measures your employer has created. 

 

The WHO has created key measures that all employers should be implementing regardless of the industry. They include frequent hand-washing, disinfecting stations with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, respiratory hygiene (covering coughs, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, regular environmental cleaning, and disinfection, and limiting unnecessary travel). Employers should create and implement clear policies, training, and education for all staff members to inform them of COVID-19 protocols. Additionally, employers must encourage unwell workers or anyone who develops symptoms to stay home, self-isolate, and contact a medical professional immediately. Providing employees with COVID-19 information such as testing centers is a great way to keep employees informed. 

The Rights, Duties, and Responsibilities of Employers and Employees

 

Employers, workers, and their organizations should strive to collaborate with health authorities to help prevent and control COVID-19. Employers should implement measures that prevent and mitigate exposures at the workplace while also providing personal protective equipment determined necessary through the risk assessment. To protect workers at higher risk such as those ages 60 and over, or those with underlying medical conditions, special measures should be taken.

 

Workers must follow the measures for occupational safety and health to help control the spread of COVID within the workplace. Workers have the right to remove themselves from any work situation that presents an imminent and serious danger to their life or health and must be protected from any unseemly consequences.

Tips to Overcome Return-to-Work Anxiety

 

Plan Ahead. As you transition back to work, finding some control over the uncertainty can help ease your anxiety. These can be simple things such as revisiting your work wardrobe, prepping your lunch, or organizing any work-related items. 

 

Find the Good. This transition can be nerve-wracking, but do your best to seek the good in returning to work to help boost hope and optimism which in turn can help quiet your worry and anxiety. Think about the coworkers that you have missed or the customer’s smiles that brighten your day. 

 

Talk About It. Find your person and vent away or start utilizing a journal. Expressing our feelings is a great way to help ease our worries and anxieties about what we are feeling. It is easy to get lost in our thoughts and emotions, so we need to make time to express ourselves. Remember your feelings matter. Feel those feelings, but find a way to release them and not be consumed by them. 

 

As the world seeks some normalcy, many people are feeling anxious and uncomfortable to return to anything. Many individuals are returning to work full-time, forced to be near people – people they have been told to avoid for over a year. It is no wonder so many are consumed with negative emotions as they transition back to the workforce. Anxiety and stress are normal reactions to heavy situations. It is important to find outlets to help ease those stresses and worries such as knowing your rights as an employee and asking the right questions. Your safety within the workplace is vital and a requirement. When employers and employees work together to find measures that keep each person sane and safe, it creates a workspace that is much easier to come back to. If you are struggling with negative emotions due to COVID, reach out to Achieve Medical Concierge today. Call today (858) 221-0344.

remote

Remote Learning and Its Effects on Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of us who now work remotely. The pandemic has also led to remote learning for our school-aged children and young adults who attend college. Some areas around the country closed schools in March 2020 and have not opened since then. While following COVID-19 protocols is necessary, the absence of being in a school surrounded by peers is taking a toll on our children’s mental health.

The Social Impact of Remote Learning on Children

The shift from in-person to remote learning has been challenging for many children and young adults. Being in school and learning in a classroom setting is more practical for academic and social development. Attending virtual classes has made many kids feel isolated, alone, and even scared. For children who already have mental health complications, remote learning can increase depression and anxiety.

Many children rely on schools for mental and behavioral health services. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before COVID-19, an estimated one in five U.S. children experienced a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. These included anxiety, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and disruptive behavioral disorders. However, only about 20% of children receive care from a specialized mental health provider. Without access to these services, mental health conditions and behavioral disorders can worsen.

Many children and adolescents cannot participate in extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, with school closures. Many kids will not attend events, including prom, school fairs, or school field trips. For many others, school meals may be the only meal they receive throughout the day. Some could be home alone during the day as parents leave for work.

The social impact of remote learning on children can be devastating. Teachers who were able to identify whether a child is abused or neglected at home might have a more difficult time reaching that observation in an online classroom. Mental health can rapidly decline, putting a child at risk of self-harm, depression, and anxiety.  

Mental Health Conditions

Depression is debilitating and can make you feel alone, tired, and unmotivated. When children suffer from depression, they can become withdrawn or show physical symptoms, such as aches and pains. Some of the symptoms of depression in children include:

  • Loss of interest
  • Problems concentrating
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Aggression or angry outbursts
  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Talking about death

Some symptoms of depression can mimic other psychiatric conditions, such as ADHD or anxiety disorders. Before 2020, there was already evidence that young people’s mental health problems were increasing. The 12-month prevalence of a major depressive disorder in U.S. adolescents increased from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014.

Staying energized and motivated in a distance-learning model can be very challenging. Younger children who need supervision can quickly get distracted and not perform well in an online environment. Teens and older children miss socializing with friends as they usually would before the pandemic. Remote learning can make kids feel disconnected and anxious about their future in an educational environment.

Anyone can develop a mental health disorder or behavioral problem. Teens and adolescents who struggle with mental health issues are at high risk of turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. Drug and alcohol use can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD). Certain drugs and alcohol can worsen mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Using substances to cope can cause serious health risks, including heart attack, liver failure, overdose, or death.

Ways to Improve Mental Health

Remote learning can make kids less active than they usually would be if they were attending school in-person. Inactivity and sitting still for long periods throughout the day can be difficult, especially for kids who struggle with ADHD. Parents can encourage their children to use time n between classes to stand up, walk around, and go outside for some fresh air if weather permits.

Physical activity can significantly improve a child’s mental health. Young people who exercise regularly have lower levels of depression, stress, psychological distress, higher levels of a positive self-image, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being. Regular exercise and staying active can also improve behavior, including those with behavioral disorders, such as ADHD. 

Youth Mental Health Services

The COVID-19 pandemic impacts young children and teens, and remote learning makes them susceptible to feeling isolated, putting them at risk of developing mental health complications. If left untreated, these symptoms can worsen or last well into adulthood.

Youth mental health services are available at Achieve Concierge. They can include medication, psychotherapy, or both to help a child or teen who experiences depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms. Also, alternative therapies like music or art therapy, meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques may be used as part of a mood disorder treatment program for a child or teen.

If social isolation and remote learning affect your child or teen, do not hesitate to ask for help. At Achieve Concierge, we want to help your child or teen find ways to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team of dedicated professionals can help identify a treatment plan based on your child’s needs.

 

Remote learning for children and young adolescents has been necessary for some parts of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation and distance learning can significantly impact academic and social development, which can increase f anxiety and depression symptoms. We can help your child or teen find ways to cope, and our team of clinicians is dedicated to developing the best option for your child’s needs. Each child who struggles with mental health symptoms responds differently to treatment. At Achieve Concierge, we offer youth mental health services to help ease anxiety and depression. We offer same-day appointments in person, and appointments with all our providers can be made via telemedicine. We take a holistic approach to treatment and want to help by determining the best course of action to treat your child’s mental health symptoms. To find out more about our services and treatment plans, call Achieve Concierge at (858) 221-0344.