COVID-19: Parents should address needs of children with compassion, says PGIMER psychiatry head

Mattoo said that parents should not try to just discipline or control, but try to understand the issues and problems from the children's or younger people's perspective.

Published: 16th April 2020 04:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2020 04:35 PM   |  A+A-

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CHANDIGARH: The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown may impact some children's mental health and emotional well-being and parents should address their needs with compassion and a friendly approach, according to a leading psychiatrist.

While the impact of the pandemic and the ensuing situation on the mental health of children and adults may not be documented yet, S K Mattoo, the head of PGIMER, Chandigarh's Psychiatry Department, suggest some ways in which children can be counselled.

"There are some general principles which apply to adults and children as well. As far as children are concerned, the responsibility lies more with parents and caretakers and they must address the needs of children, whatever their queries are, whatever be their difficulties or problems.

They need to be addressed through compassion, consideration and a friendly approach," he said .

Mattoo said that parents should not try to just discipline or control, but try to understand the issues and problems from the children's or younger people's perspective.

"They should try to help them solve those problems or issues," he told PTI.

While some adults too may feel anxious and isolated, and worry about the uncertainty these days, Mattoo said people should keep themselves busy and try to maintain a daily routine.


"They should try to sleep well, eat well and at proper time, take care of their bodies, exercise daily, do yoga and meditation, keep themselves entertained and relaxed with whatever is available," he said.

"They must also collect appropriate information about do's and don'ts with regards to the coronavirus.

Where to seek help, how to seek help, phone number, email ids, apps and maintain contact with people over the phone, social media, talk to friends, family members and well-wishers, while following social distancing norms," he said.

Mattoo said that in case they feel stressed or tense, they must talk to people and try to find appropriate solutions to their worries," he added.

He said while most people are resilient and understand what the problem is, a few people may have personal issues because of which they might worry.

"Some people might have physical illnesses, some have mental illnesses, some may have disabled people at home who need to be taken care of and may face issues of how to procure medicines and help for them," he said.

In case there is a problem, one can always seek help, he said.

"There are helplines available with all major hospitals, including PGIMER, Government Medical College here. There are helplines available both for physical issues and any queries related to health, including mental health.

"Also, all hospitals have emergency open round-the-clock. Anybody who feels there is an emergency should get the help required," he said.

Asked what would be the advice for people with depression and related conditions, the doctor said, "If there are issues, they must maintain contact with their social network then seek help.

And if things get out of hand then there are medical agencies, hospitals, helplines."

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