Roanoke Valley parents, doctors discuss impact of ‘the pandemic wall’ on children and adults


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Americans have been dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year. Many people — including children — are coping with the ongoing disruptions of the virus leading some to hit a breaking point, which many are referring to as “the pandemic wall.”

Some students who used to be excited about school are now seeing it as a drag.

Psychologists call this breaking point a cognitive overload. They say children have a basic way of processing things like disappointment, so when their world of normalcy gets flipped around and schedules get changed, it can be hard for them to continue to regulate themselves. Then, depending on their age, this could cause depression or lead them to act out.

WFXR News reached out to parents in the Roanoke Valley to see how their children were handling the pandemic. Some parents say their children were excelling, while others say their children have hit the pandemic wall.

“Parents are getting stressed out,” said Peg McGuire, creator of a Facebook group, Roanoke Moms Survive Corona. “There was a comment today in the group where a mom posted that she feels like a failure ‘because my child is failing and there is nothing I can do to stop it because they are just done.’ We’ve hit our wall, and we are just at that point.”

Experts say communication is key for your children, so acknowledge the situation, be honest with them, and listen to their feelings.

Stress can take its toll on adults and children in different ways, which is why it’s important to schedule breaks throughout the day.

“Don’t feel like an individual parent you are in it alone, reach out for help,” said Dr. Robert L. Trestman, the Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Carilion Clinic. “There should be no stigma about asking for help at this time. We all need each other, we all need to rely on each other. We will get through this.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with anxiety or despair, Dr. Trestman recommends reaching out to an expert.

The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is (800) 273-8255.

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