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How to Talk to Your Anxious Child or Teen About Coronavirus

Richa Bhatia, MD, FAPA, a Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatrist, writes, “Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are bound to be heightened with wide-scale disease outbreaks that are contagious, particularly when they involve a new, previously unknown disease-causing agent, as is the case with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Children and teens may have a particularly hard time making sense of what’s happening in such a scenario, given their pending brain maturation, their lack of experience, and their inherent suggestibility and vulnerability. Seemingly endless news cycles may feel overwhelming, confusing and scary to a child or teen. Children typically possess lesser abilities to decipher and understand from the news, the extent of risk that a disease outbreak poses to them or to their loved ones and friends. This can create a sense of panic amongst children. This may be more challenging when a child/teen is already suffering from an anxiety disorder or predisposed to feeling more anxious in unusual or new situations.”

Dr. Bhatia provides many helpful suggestions for parents and caregivers.  Check out this resource:


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