Wilder Therapists Provide Mental Health Support for Children And Families During COVID-19
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Wilder therapists were suddenly unable to meet in person with children and families who are experiencing stress and trauma. With balloons, feathers and bubbles, therapists are finding creative ways to help parents remain calm and nurturing during a crisis.
The child and family therapists at Wilder often use toys and child-friendly activities to help strengthen the relationship between children and parents. “Kids learn by playing,” Wilder therapist Susan says. “Normally when we see them in our clinic, we’re working with them, playing through trauma, stress or worries that they may have. Also, we do therapy with the parent and child that’s building that relationship with them.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilder Community Mental Health and Wellness continues to provide that play-focused therapy by video telehealth.
Therapists are finding creative ways to make video therapy effective. Serena, a therapist with Wilder, created activity kits to mail to families. The kits have items such as a balloon to create a challenge game by gently hitting it back and forth and bubbles to share playful moments between parent and child.
Organizations across Minnesota are using telehealth services to provide mental health services in response to the urgent needs of communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early in the outbreak, the Minnesota Governor’s Office asked Wilder to help reform access to telehealth services for children and families. We partnered with other organizations to propose recommendations to ensure children and families receive care they need—quickly and safely. Many of these changes have already taken effect, allowing the flexibility needed to provide mental health services in this unprecedented time.