Doctor warns of long-term effects of Covid 19 on young people

We know that the restrictions of recent months have been very difficult for young people whose social life is so important to them. Many young people have been absolute heroes, staying home, maintaining social distance when out, doing everything they can to protect those around them.

Now that things are opening up again we cannot afford to think that life is back to what it was before this all happened. We still need to be careful, to limit the number of people we are mixing with, to maintain social distancing, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette and to wear face coverings in busy places.

Although the number of new cases of Coronavirus is now much lower we can see that many of those new cases are happening among young people. It can be difficult for us as parents to get our children to understand and accept the ongoing need for restrictions. Often young people see themselves as invincible, thinking either that they won’t get Covid or that if they do it won’t do them any harm. Here is an interview which was aired on Newstalk on 24th June which might help young adults to realise that Covid-19 is still a challenge and a threat to people – young and old – in Ireland.

A Dublin doctor is warning young people that they could be left with long-term effects if they contract COVID-19.

It comes after health officials warned that 76 of the 202 people diagnosed with the virus in the past two weeks were under the age of 35.

Sixteen of those cases involved children under 14-years-of-age.

On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Dublin GP Maitiú Ó Tuathail said all five of the patients he referred for testing yesterday were under 40-years-old.

He said increases in young people catching the virus are now “happening the world over.”

“They are the most social of all the groups so it stands to reason that we would see an increase in these numbers as lockdown has been, kind of, reversed,” he said.

He said the narrative that the virus only effects older people has led to younger people being too relaxed about guidelines on social distancing and face coverings.

“There has been a clear message throughout the pandemic that this is an illness that predominantly affects and kills people who are over the age of 65,” he said.

“Because that was the message that has gone out, those that are under 40 really feel like this is not a disease that affects them and what I am seeing in my practice is that that is not true.”

Post-viral fatigue syndrome

He said people under 40 are unlikely to end up in intensive care with the virus; however, they could face other long-term issues.

“I am seeing an increasing number of people that were 20 or 30 that got COVID-19 and were left with the effects of it,” he said.

“The most common one we are seeing at the moment is chronic fatigue. I have patients in their 20s and 30s that are now out of work for weeks with severe chronic fatigue because of COVID-19.

“So, it is not true that people under the age of 40 are completely immune. I am seeing people coming in with long-term effects from the virus.”

Loved ones

He said young people need to consider their older relatives when they are out and about.

“The real issue is that these people in their 20s and 30s have loved ones,” he said. “They have mothers, they have fathers and they are putting them at risk by the actions they are taking.

“There is a likelihood that you will spread the virus to a loved one who may end up in intensive care and may die and that is the message that needs to get out.”

Healthcare workers

Dr Ó Tuathail also said the INMO was not ‘far off the mark’ when it said Ireland had the world’s highest COVID-19 infection rate among healthcare workers.

“Anecdotally, I have had COVID-19, a lot of my colleagues who worked in hospitals have had COVID-19 and a disproportionally large number of nurses particularly in the nursing home sector had COVID-19

“We know in the nursing home sector, that was a mess. It was poorly managed there was an inadequate amount of PPE within the nursing home sector.”

 

Coping with grief in the time of Covid 19 – tips from Jigsaw

The Jigsaw website provides great well being and mental health support for young people and for their families. Sadly, some families are dealing with grief at the moment – because of Covid 19 or other causes –  and it can cause added stress when we can’t come together to support each other as we would have done in the past. The article below is reproduced from the Jigsaw website and you can access the original here https://jigsawonline.ie/young-people/grief-and-loss-in-exceptional-times/

Grief and loss in exceptional times – Jigsaw Online

During the past few months so much has changed in our world. Certain things continue – people get sick, people die, people die suddenly. And sadly, many people have died of Covid-19.

But, everything feels quite different now, when the usual rituals and coming together are no longer available to us. There is no right way to feel, or to grieve the loss of someone we love. However, there might be some things we can do to ease the pain and strangeness a little. Of course, they will be different for everyone and it’s about finding your own way.

Saying goodbye

This can be especially difficult when someone we love is in hospital or a nursing home, and we are not allowed to visit. If they are well enough to talk on the phone or Facetime, then this can be a helpful way to connect.

You may prefer to remember the person as they were when they were well, and that’s OK too. Try writing a letter to express what you would like to say or what you didn’t get to say. This can feel supportive whether your loved one reads it or not.

Managing the funeral or service

Funerals and services are very different now; only attended by a few people. If you’re not able to go the service, then stay in touch with friends and family who are attending virtually. Remember, you are not alone.

When attending via live-stream, try to watch with friends and family. If this is not possible, connect with someone afterwards either on the phone or text.

It’s also OK not to watch, or to step away half way through if you prefer. You could think about setting up or attending a virtual family gathering afterwards. Come together to remember your loved one, exchange photos or play music that reminds you of them.

Other ways to remember

Some people find it helpful to create a memory box, either on your own or with family and friends. Gather photographs, objects, items that remind you of your loved one. Decorate your box.

If you have a garden space or even a pot on a windowsill, planting some flowers or a tree is a lovely way to honour of them. Many of the garden centres are opening up now, but you can also buy online, or ask neighbours or friends to help.

“It can help to gently name and acknowledge the feelings without judgement”

Allow your feelings

You are likely to feel a whole rush of different feelings at this time. These can include things like:

  • feeling OK one moment and not the next
  • moving from sad to confused to angry to happy in a few minutes
  • feeling relief rather than grief
  • loneliness, or preferring the privacy and quiet time you have just now
  • physical feelings such as a heaviness in your chest or a churning in your stomach
  • maybe you don’t feel that much at all.

It can sometimes help to gently name and acknowledge the feelings, without judgement and without moving too deeply into them. When names don’t come easily for a feeling, make up a word that works. Bleurgh, fuzzy, sparkly, numb – whatever word or nonsense word that works for you. Try and allow your experience, no matter what it is.

Use your senses

If you are experiencing strong feelings and struggling with grief, using your senses can help to ground you. Sometimes it can be helpful to ground through your hands and feet.

Walk in the back garden or in your bedroom in your bare feet. Steal some playdoh from your younger sibling and roll it in your hands.

Gather together a ‘soothe box’. Put in an item for each sense – something soft like a cosy blanket or jumper, a smell you like, a picture that calms you, and some music that you like. Take time for you. Wrap yourself up, with your favourite hot drink and listen to music.

 >> Listen to Jigsaw clinician Leona talk through a grounding tool called ‘ACE’

Talk or don’t talk

Some days it might helpful to be connected in with others, and sometimes you might want to be alone. That’s OK. Just be careful of cutting yourself off completely. It can be good to find ways to connect with other people that don’t involve much talking. Watching movies or playing games together, either online or with people in your home.

Remember it’s OK to laugh and to have fun in moments, and that it’s actually quite healing. Talk to family and friends about your loved one who has died if that feels right. Writing down how you feel is good too, if you’re not ready to talk.

Take a look at ways to contact Jigsaw if you would prefer to talk to someone outside your network.

Do what helps

This is the time to do those things you enjoy and are able to do in your own home. For example:

  • use a creative outlet that you find supportive, like playing an instrument
  • play video games, or watch a favourite series or film
  • do your best to eat well and rest well, even if you don’t feel like it
  • being in nature can  be very healing, so do try to get outside.

You might find comfort in returning to your study/work routine. Or perhaps concentration is difficult so give yourself permission to do nothing. Just let things settle as they are with no judgement.

>> Get some ideas from young people and Jigsaw clinicians about self-care during covid-19

 

 

 

Teenagers, socialising and social distancing

Do you have teenagers who are keen to meet up with friends but worry that their friends may ignore social distancing advice? Linda, a Clinician with Jigsaw has some advice for Kayla, a young teenager who finds herself in that position.

Ask Jigsaw: Friends not social distancing

I met up with my friends today and it was a bit underwhelming. It was great to see them but it also made me very nervous. First of all there was 7 of us, but the thing that stressed me out the most was the lack of social distancing. A few of us tried to at the start, but it got so difficult especially when some friends kept trying to get close to me. This really annoyed me and when i confronted them they brushed it off and said ‘a sure we will all get it at some stage’.

I understand that some of them are not in tune with irish news and it could be down to innocent ignorance, but its impossible to convince them to even try. Some people in my family are at risk, so social distancing really matters for me.

At the same time, I get serious Fear Of Missing Out when it comes to passing on hanging out, so I dont know what to do now. Any ideas on what i should do?

Also Id like to say a massive thank you for doing all the work you guys do, it means so much as a young person to have a place like this to fall back on when i need support:)

-Kayla

Look at the plan for raising restrictions and have a think about what you can and can’t do with your friends.

LInda, the Jigsaw Clinician replies to Kayla:-

Hi Kayla,

Firstly, thank you for your kind words about our service. It’s our aim to provide support for young people like you, so it means a lot to hear that you can rely on us.

It sounds like you’re in a tricky social situation and I’m sure that many of us will face similar situations, if not now then in the future.

Know your boundaries

As you’re aware, the current restrictions in place are for the safety and wellbeing of everyone. They are the guidelines we have to live by to protect ourselves and others. I can understand your frustration as your friends break these rules. Check with yourself about what you’re comfortable with.  Look at the plan for raising restrictions and have a think about what you can and can’t do with your friends in advance so you can be clear about where your boundaries are. Remember, you can still keep in touch with out seeing people face to face if you decide to wait.

Agree in advance to challenge those who flout the guidelines, and to walk away if it continues.

Get others on board

Often in groups, we follow the lead of one or two people. When you are in the group it can be hard to be the one person who stands up and says something is wrong. Try speaking individually to a few of the people involved to highlight your concerns and the reasons why social distancing is important to you.

Using assertive communication, you can explain how you feel when people don’t stick to the guidelines. If possible a few of you can agree in advance to challenge those who flout the guidelines, and to walk away if it continues. It is easier to tackle if a few of you are united, rather than feeling you are the one being ‘awkward’.

It’s about respect

It’s not okay for our friends to put us, or our loved ones, in danger. When people break social distancing rules by coming too close – this is exactly what they are doing. Mutual respect is the foundation of friendships and something that we all deserve.

We need our friends now more than ever, and of course you will feel FOMO if you stop contact. Thankfully, if our friends follow social distancing rules, we can still hang out without harming anyone. Your friends should respect your choice and if they don’t, it could be worth considering meeting individual friends that do.

Take care,

 Linda, Jigsaw Clinician

If there is a young person in your family who has a question for Jigsaw they can contact them here https://jigsawonline.ie/young-people/live-group-chats/

Great support for the well being and mental health of young people and for their parents/guardians is available from Jigsaw https://jigsawonline.ie/

Parenting and the importance of liking your adolescent

This interesting article from Psychology Today looks at the complicated relationship between parents and teenagers

Many parents value the importance of love but underestimate the power of liking.

Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.
Source: Carl Pickhardt Ph.D.

Adolescence is the time when you and your child still love each other as always, but often don’t like each other as much.” So I was told on good parental authority.

The notion was that while childhood was filled with taking pleasure in each other’s company, adolescence is often about parent and teenager putting up with how each other have become harder to live with.

What follows is why I believe that active liking is an important part of effectively parenting an adolescent.

Less liking from the loss of childhood

For the parents, gone is the adoring and adorable little child whose tag-along company they miss. For the adolescent, gone are the perfectly wonderful parents and the fun-loving company they used to be. For both parent and changing child, adolescence begins with some loss of mutual enjoyment, and liking is its name.

Come adolescence, a lessening of traditional liking on both sides of the relationship can occur.

Although it can feel easy to blame each other for this disaffection, the real culprit is growth. Now, three developmental engines – separation, experimentation, and opposition – drive the adolescent transformation toward more independence and individuality. Now more contention can occur. “You haven’t done what I asked!” collides with, “I said I would, in a while!”

Increased abrasion from normal differences starts wearing down the old connection between them, gradually growing them more apart from each other, which is what the coming of age passage is meant to accomplish.

Love is not enough

To some parents, this partial loss of liking seems like no big deal so long as lasting love remains strong because, surely, loving counts more than liking. Yes and no. If you could only have one, certainly love would be the best choice. However, never underestimate the power of parental liking. Consider it this way.

The power of parental love is nurturing attachment on which trust in the lasting power of this unconditional commitment depends. “I know my parents have always loved me and always will.” We are talking about foundational presence here.

The power of parental liking is providing approval from their high authority on which much conditional self-esteem depends. “I think well of myself because my parents have always thought well of me.” We are talking about formative influence here.

Early adolescence and self-dislike

Young adolescents can dislike themselves more than they did as children on two counts: first, when they separate from childhood and second when they enter puberty.

Most young people separate from childhood and start adolescence (around ages 9 to 13) with fewer grounds for liking themselves because they must let go of some traditional enjoyments that kept them feeling good. Growing up is a ruthless process because it requires giving up along the way. So they reject beloved interests, activities, and objects because: “I don’t want kid stuff anymore!” However, it takes a while to replace these supports, and until they are found, the young person can feel beset by that painful state of self-dislike, boredom: “I don’t know what to do with myself! I hate having nothing I like to do!”

When young people enter puberty, coming into sexual maturity can cause physical changes and social self-consciousness that engenders a lot of self-dislike about personal appearance and unpopularity: “I don’t like how I look”; “Not many people like me.” At worst, public teasing can cause the young person to dislike themselves even more: “It just shows what’s wrong with me!” (Parents need to explain: “Teasing is not about anything wrong with you; it just shows what is wrong with teasers – acting mean.”)

With peers, the adolescent is not usually looking to be loved; but she or he is definitely looking to be liked — to be approved, welcomed, befriended, and popular. Now to be socially liked becomes extremely important, and to be socially disliked can be extremely painful. “No one wants me to sit with them at lunch.” To be unliked can lead to isolation.

The relationship between liking and love

Because love amplifies one’s power of liking – of approval and disapproval – criticism from a loved one can hurt the most. Thus, the angry or defiant teenage statement to upset parents is usually a lie: “I don’t care what you think of me anyway!” In truth, I believe most adolescents want to shine in parental eyes. In consequence, there can be the need not to disappoint, the concern that wrongful actions can harm the relationship, even fear that loss of partial liking may endanger their love.

Thus sometimes in response to an infraction of a significant rule, parental reassurance may need to be given to the anxious offender who wonders if they’ve really “torn the relationship with parents now.” Sensing this insecurity, parents explain, “Just because we don’t like how you acted doesn’t mean we don’t love the person you are.” Then they give a non-evaluative correction to deal with the wrongdoing, with no criticism of character expressed. “We just disagree with the choice you made, this is why, this is what we need to have happen now, and we are ready to hear whatever you have to say.”

Examples of active liking

So how might an adolescent experience active parental liking? Ten examples follow.

  1.  “You enjoy my company.”
  2. “You welcome my friends.”
  3. “You compliment my efforts.”
  4. “You support my goals.”
  5. “You listen with attention.”
  6. “You respect my needs.”
  7. “You appreciate my interests.”
  8. “You value my opinion.”
  9. “You laugh at my humor.”
  10. “You’re glad to see me.”

While parents should be steadfast in loving their adolescents, they should be constant in actively liking this young person, too.

You can read the original article here  https://www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/202004/parenting-and-the-importance-liking-your-adolescent

About the Author

Restorative Practices Video launched by Foróige through Donegal ETB’s Peace IV funded Project

Foróige launched a new video tonight aimed at explaining the concept of restorative practices to young people and adults.

The project was completed as part of Donegal ETB’s Restorative Practices Project which successfully secured €200,000 of EU PEACE IV funding in 2018. It is supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) by Donegal County Council. This project involves nineteen post-primary schools (ETB and non-ETB) and Youthreach (early school leaver) centres from across the county and Foróige.

Restorative practices provides an ethos for making, maintaining and repairing relationships and for fostering a sense of social responsibility and shared accountability. It understands that when harm is done to people and relationships, it creates obligations and liabilities and focuses on repairing the harm and making things right.

The video was created by young people with the support of a motion graphics designer and Foróige staff. It began with Restorative Practices training for the fifty young people and staff year over the course of a day. The young people expressed an interest in becoming involved in the production of an animated video that would explain Restoratives Practices in a clear and succinct way. The aim was that the video would be used both for those actively engaging in Restorative Practices as well as those who were introducing the concept to young people, youth workers, teachers, trainers in both youth services and education centres and schools for the very first time.

During a Restorative Practice residential, Foróige staff facilitated workshops with the young people to reflect on the training they had received and what they had learned. They worked on their script and met with the motion graphic designer to develop their ideas and capture what they wanted on the final video. Two of the young people did the voice-overs on the video which was a first for them.

Speaking about the project, one of the young people said, “Taking part in the Restorative Practice training and project was a great opportunity; I got to learn skills in Restorative Practice and how to use this in school and home and I also met lots of new friends.”

Foróige Project Leader Susan McLoughlin noted, “The young people achieved so much in the process of making the animated video. Most of them had never even heard of Restorative Practices before. To think that they now have a professionally made video that will explain and promote Restorative Practices as a positive way of dealing with conflict situations is a real credit to all of them. Our thanks to Donegal ETB, Donegal County Council and the Special EU Programmes Body for funding the project through the Peace IV programme.”

The project is funded under priority 1 of the Peace IV programme, promoting peace and reconciliation and under action 4.1 of the local authority peace plan which focuses on the promotion of positive relations at a local and regional level, characterised by respect and where cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance. Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Donegal ETB project coordinator, Dr Sandra Buchanan noted, “This is a brilliant video. Restorative practices is not an easy concept to understand and this video presents an understanding that’s clear, that’s easy to grasp and introduces the concept outline in a nutshell. It is such a useful resource for introducing this topic to young people and adults.”

Donegal County Council Peace IV Programme Co-ordinator, Caroline McCleary, congratulating the young people remarked how she was delighted to see this video, “Peace emanates from conflict and as we put these projects together we can see that we’ve moved on from some of that conflict.  It gives me great pleasure to see projects like this rolled out that involve young people and I hope that the new skills they have learned will help them as they go through life.”

The restorative practices project seeks to improve positive relationships between and for young people, staff, parents/guardians, volunteers, train participants in accredited and non-accredited approaches to Restorative Practices and to develop an understanding of alternative ways of dealing with conflict.

The video can be viewed here.

Pictured at the launch of their Donegal ETB Peace IV funded restorative practices project are some of the young people who were involved in making the video. Included are Susan McLoughlin (Foróige Project Leader), Una McGuinness (Restorative Practices Project Administrator), Dr Sandra Buchanan (Restorative Practices Project Co-ordinator) and Caroline McCleary (Donegal County Council Peace IV Programme Co-Ordinator).

What is Jigsaw Donegal?

Jigsaw Donegal

provides a free and confidential support service for young people aged 15 – 25, with our centre based at Pearse Road in Letterkenny. Just click the link to find out more: –

https://www.jigsaw.ie/jigsaw_donegal/

Jigsaw Donegal aims to make sure that young people’s voices are heard, and that they get the right support, where and when they need it. Jigsaw Donegal is a partnership between HSE and The Alcohol Forum.

How can Jigsaw Donegal help? if I’m a young person…

Jigsaw offers a one-to-one support service for young people aged between 15 and 25. We can assess your mental health and help you to understand what is going on for you. We will work with you to set goals around what you would like to be different in your life. Then we will support you to reach those goals, through talking things out, problem solving, learning new skills and / or hooking you up with other services that might be able to help (e.g. education & training; youth services etc).

Jigsaw helps young people through the current hurdles, learning skills along the way that will help them overcome the next challenge that comes their way. Jigsaw is a free and confidential service that is built on really listening to you and your experience and working with you to make things better.

Just ring in or call in during our drop in hours.

 If I am worried about someone…

We can advise you on the best service for the young person based on the information you provide.

As a parent we can inform you of how to support a young person yourself or how to help them access Jigsaw or other supports that they might need.

Opening hours (Letterkenny only):

Monday 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 6pm

Tuesday 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 6pm

Wednesday 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 6pm

Thursday 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 8pm

Friday 9am – 1pm

Drop-in hours (Letterkenny only):

Monday   2pm – 3pm

Tuesday  2pm – 3pm

Wednesday 2pm – 3pm

Thursday 3pm – 5pm

Closed: The Monday of Bank Holidays

Find us on Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/JigsawDonegal/
 Follow us on Twitter    https://twitter.com/jigsawdonegal
PLEASE NOTE

Jigsaw Donegal is not a 24 hour or Emergency service. Our phone and email services are NOT checked outside of drop-in hours. If you need help outside of these hours, click the link:-  https://www.jigsaw.ie/need-help/get-help-now

Jigsaw Outreach

Jigsaw Donegal also provides outreach services to other parts of the county to make it more accessible for young people to get the help they need where and when they need it.

We operate in the following areas one day a week strictly for appointments only, there is no drop in facility in any outreach centre.

Inishowen Development Partnership, Buncrana

Community Hospital, Killybegs

Ballyshannon Health Campus, Ballyshannon

Parentstop, Carndonagh

If you would like to find out more about any outreach area or how to go about making a referral please contact us on 074 9726920. Or click the link:- https://www.jigsaw.ie/jigsaw_donegal/

Teenagers and mobile phones – ground rules?

When we asked parents what the main causes of stress were for them in family life many of you said “Mobile phones, social media and technology”. This is an area that we will be exploring in more depth, looking at how we can get the best out of technology without giving up our safety and privacy. In the meantime, one of the big stresses in family life is the mobile phone and the fact that our teenagers don’t seem to be able to do anything without a phone in their hand! Have you thought of agreeing a contract with your teenager for their mobile phone – how and when it is used, what the ground rules are etc. Here is a sample contract that you might find useful. Just click on the link.

Phone contract with Teenager

The other thing we need to remember is that we are role models for our children and teenagers. Maybe we need to look at our own habits with our mobile/tablet/laptop. Are we addicted to social media? Are we missing out on family time because we are on our phones? Ground rules may be as much of a challenge for us as for our teenagers!