Wake Up Clovis Talk About Mental State of COVID-19

(Courtesy of Clovis Chamber of Commerce)

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce held their virtual meeting Wake Up Clovis on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 9 a.m. with guest Susan Seruby Director of Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Reception Services for Kaiser permanente.

The meeting will be talking about “How to make it through COVID: A Guide for Families” and was hosted by Clovis Chamber of Commerce CEO Greg Newman. Seruby talked about how families can keep a clear mind during this pandemic and how the community can stay mentally healthy during these stressful times.

After a quick introduction the first topic talked about in the meeting was of how to help our kids deal with the stress of the pandemic.

Seruby said that before trying to help out our kids we need to make sure we are helping ourselves. Seruby said that we are the role models for our kids and the way we are able to handle stress will teach them to handle stress. Seruby also mentioned that one of the biggest challenges for kids during the pandemic is socialization.

Because of the nature of this pandemic there is less social engagement going on and sometimes not socialising can be frustrating for children. Seruby also talked about active children and what they are going through during quarantine.

“What these kids are losing right now they will never get back,” Seruby said. “Organized sports there is no way around that. There is just no replacing that via computer or your backyard.”

One of the questions asked about what signs and symptoms should parents be worried about with their kids. Seruby said that lack of motivation along with sadness, irritability and aggression can be symptoms of depression in a child. She mentioned that kids manifest their emotions differently and that some symptoms might be different in children.

Seruby said that we should be careful not to misidentify defiance, anger or acting out as bad behavior, but rather as symptoms of distress.

Another question asked Seruby how grown ups can cope with the stresses of the pandemic, working from home and having children learning from home. Seruby said that having alone time or downtime to rejuvenate is crucial. She mentioned that using meditation and calming techniques are good ways to manage anxiety and stress.

Seruby said that exercise is also key to destress, from a full exercise to walking down the street to even just sitting down and stretching could help with stress.

“You don’t need to do anything totally rigorous, you don’t have to break a sweat, you just have to get out and get moving.” Seruby said.

Another question for Seruby talked about what are some ways for employers to motivate their employees during these stressful times. Seruby said that having social interactions like Zoom lunches just to keep that socialization going in the workplace. She said to think other than work about the personal interactions and try to recreate them in a safe way.

Seruby mentioned that there is an increase of substance abuse and alcohol abuse due to the pandemic. Also there are more cases in depression especially in single people who are struggling due to isolation. Seruby said that AA and NA have online meetings and are great resources to seek help.

She also mentioned that due to the pandemic, mental health services have become more mobile and are better equipped to help people virtually than before.

With the holidays coming up we must continue to look for ways to keep the traditions going. She said that much like they had drive-by graduations or birthday parties we must find ways to continue traditions.

One of the final questions asked by Newman was what her thoughts were once the pandemic is over. Seruby said that she believes that the changes have been so much that it will be a different normal we will go back to.

“I think our entire world has been transformed and changed in a way that we couldn’t imagine,” Seruby said. “I think we have lost something, I think it’s going to take quite a while, if ever, that we get back to that same level that we were at before.”

Newman thanked Seruby and everyone in attendance and said that their next Wake Up Clovis event will be on Sept. 23 at 9 a.m. with special guest Lee Ann Eager, President & CEO, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation.

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez has a passion for journalism and wants to bring the community information and great stories. After high school Jorge joined the U.S. Army and while in active duty he was deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in college he worked for the Fresno City College Rampage and the Fresno State Collegian newspapers. He graduated from Fresno State in 2019 with a degree in print journalism.