Resources for Coping with COVID-19

During the ever-changing situation around Coronavirus, we know that it is crucial to tap in to our wealth of resources and share all of the expertise available with our community. Please feel free to share this page with others as we will be updating it with new mental health and wellness resources daily.

Feeling anxious amidst COVID-19? That’s totally normal.

Read the full article featuring GSPP Professor Kim Gorgens, Ph.D., ABPP here.

Meditación de cinco minutos - Versión en español

¡Lo lograste! Has llegado a la mitad de la semana laboral. Es el tiempo perfecto para tomar un momento y relajarte con una meditación corta de cinco minutos. Nuestra Directora de Psicologia Latinx, la Dra. Hetty Pazos, dirigirá este corto ejercicio de relajación.

5-Minute Meditation - English Version

You've made it halfway through the work week! Now would be the perfect time to pause and reward yourself with a moment of mindfulness. Thank you to our Latinx Psychology Director Dr. Hetty Pazos for leading this five-minute meditation.

Dicho del Dia - Saying of the Day

April 27, 2020

Virtual Events Schedule

Every day (including weekends): Virtual Dance Parties for all ages at 8:30 a.m.

Tuesdays: Support group focusing on anxiety related to COVID-19 for caregivers of young children (0-5) from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Tuesdays: Support group focusing on anxiety related to COVID-19 for expecting parents from 1-2 p.m.

In case you missed our previous Creative Corners with Marianne, check out the recordings below!

Check out our other online resource pages for caregivers and their little ones below.

Helping Children and Families Thrive During COVID-19

Children and families are meeting every morning – virtually – for a massive dance party. A children’s book author reads a book and leads related discussions and art lessons on Thursdays. More than 450 mental health practitioners gathered for a telehealth training on a recent Friday.

Children, families, mental health experts and the broader community are finding social support resources during physical distancing and COVID-19, thanks to DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University Libraries and the philanthropists whose generosity has fueled these innovative programs.

The daily dance party as well as daily live-music singalongs bring the experts of GSPP and the Fisher Early Learning Center into the homes of hundreds of families each day. Through these interactions, families can build community and find social support during a time of no in-person gatherings. In addition, the GSPP Caring for You and Baby (CUB) Clinic team is partnering with Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus to offer their WePlay infant and parent play group content virtually. The CUB Clinic’s expertise allowed a nimble transition to online programming during Colorado’s stay-at-home order. Taylor Kirkpatrick (IMBA '04), made many of these CUB Clinic offerings a reality through a gift to GSPP, and now his generosity is making a tremendous difference for the wider community during this time of crisis.

“My goal as a strategic philanthropist is to find forward-thinking, creative, and innovative programs and leverage my support and resources on their chassis of expertise,” said Kirkpatrick. “The CUB Clinic, DU Libraries, and the like have compounded my investment by creating meaningful societal impact that is socially relevant and responsive, particularly in these challenging times.”

Self Care in a Virtual World

Dr. Shelly Smith Acuña is Dean at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology

5 Mental Skills for Handling a Triathlete’s New Reality

A mental performance consultant shares cues that will help athletes stay focused and calm through these uncertain times.

Dr. Jamie Shapiro is the Director of GSPP's Sport & Performance Psychology Program

No matter where in the world you’re reading this, it’s likely your training schedule, social interactions, and daily life have changed drastically thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. From pools closing to races being canceled, everyone is facing uncertainty and anxiety as it relates to training and racing. While making physical changes to training is a great place to start, it’s important not to neglect the mental toll this situation is taking. Dr. Jamie Shapiro, CMPC, of Sport & Performance Excellence Consultants in Denver, Colorado, offers up some mental skills for triathletes. Practice these during this dynamic time to maintain a sense of focus, calm, and connectedness.

#COVIBOOK -Supporting and reassuring children around the world

Dear families and educator all over the world,

I have created this short book to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding the COVID-19. This book is an invitation for families to discuss the full range of emotions arising from the current situation. It is important to point out that this resource does not seek to be a source of scientific information, but rather a tool based on fantasy. My recommendation is to print this material so children can draw on it. Remember that emotions are processed through repetitive play and stories read multiple times. Share COVIBOOK and help ease kiddo's anxiety all over the world.

With love,

Manuela Molina - the author

Queridas familias y educadores,

He construido este libro corto para niños entre los 2 y los 7 años con el propósito anticipar y acompañar el mundo emocional infantil frente al virus COVID-19. Este recurso no busca ser una fuente de información científica sino una herramienta desde la fantasía y lo simbólico. Recomiendo imprimirlo para que los niños puedan dibujar su emoción y puedan tenerlo en casa para leerlo de forma recurrente. Recuerden que las emociones se procesan a través del juego repetitivo y de los cuentos leidos varias veces. Recuerda compartir el COVIBOOK con tu comunidad y aliviar la ansiedad de los niños en todo el mundo.

Con amor,

Manuela Molina -la autora

Colorado Perinatal Support Group

Zoom link shared in confirmation email

Beginning Tuesday, March 31, join us for a virtual perinatal support group focusing on anxiety related to COVID-19. The group will aim to process the anxieties and stressors related to the pandemic, as well as provide a forum for support. Facilitators will provide group participants with resources on coping with anxiety and stress, as well as finding self-compassion during this difficult time.

Join Us for a Virtual Dance Party

Attention caregivers: If you and your little ones are looking to get some wiggles out while you're stuck at home, join our virtual dance parties!

FREE 20-minute Virtual HIIT Workouts

Hosted by Hollis Lyman, MA - Personal Trainer

Starting Monday, March 23, GSPP alumna and staff member Hollis Lyman will be hosting FREE 20-minute HIIT workouts. Workouts will be every week day at noon. No equipment is needed and minimal space required.

Get on a schedule, take care of yourself physically and mentally, and come out of this physical distancing with a gosh darn 6 pack! All are welcome.

Use this Zoom link to join: https://udenver.zoom.us/j/356550681

Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe - With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing every day, psychologists offer insights on how to separate yourself from others, while still getting the social support you need.

Seven crucial research findings that can help people deal with COVID-19 - Psychological research on past crises can help people cope with the daily — sometimes hourly — newsflashes about the coronavirus.

Pandemics - General Resources

Encouraging Words from an Experienced Lockdown Mom

Erika Charles, M.A., M.Ed. - GSPP International Disaster Psychology Grad - Founder, Executive Director of Espere Community Counseling Center

I never imagined I would be an experienced lockdown mom, but here we are. There are a few million other moms here in Haiti that can also relate. Due to violent civil unrest for the last 18 months, we have faced sudden school closures for indefinite amounts of time, job and business closures, childcare stress, basic necessities out of stock or being sold at ridiculously inflated prices, and all the other surprises that come when life outside your door comes to a screeching halt.

Let me share some things that my family has learned, and maybe something resonates with you as many more million people around the world are being forced into this weird club.

1) Remember this is not normal - It is easy after some time to get desensitized to things that would normally be shocking or minimize your experiences because "someone else has it worse", but remind yourself that your stress is real, these feelings are okay, and even though it may feel like these days of consistent inconsistency will never end, don't forget that this experience is not normal and it won't last forever.

2) Get ready for the slump - Right now there's a lot of adrenaline as news reports are flying a mile a minute, you can't keep up with all the closures and changes, and you are trying to help your kids understand why there's no church, school, play dates, and after-school practice. But soon this bizarre mixture of excitement and anxiety wears off as the days go on. And on. And on. And on. And on. And you begin to wonder if your family has doubled or the walls have shrunk. This is when it's REALLY important to remember this experience is not normal and it won't last forever.

3) It's okay to slow down - During lockdowns we sleep in, stay up late, read, play, color, bake, and sit on the porch blowing bubbles. Do I stress about trying to make everything an educational experience in an attempt to replace the missed days of school? Nope. Do I feel guilty about this especially because I hold a graduate degree in Education and have years of teaching experience? Nope. Why? Because this experience is not normal and it won't last forever.

4) Stay intentionally connected (and intentionally disconnected) - This is a very delicate dance between staying informed, staying in touch with your loved ones outside those shrinking walls, and staying in tune with your family. Your phone can be an important tool to keep you updated on current events, but can also raise your anxiety and keep you distracted from crucial human connections, especially those littlest ones that need you present to help them navigate this strange time. Also, not all human connections are created equal. Some friends are great burden-sharers and others can be burden-dumpers. Be intentional about your emotional intake and output levels during this time of extra uncertainty. If you need to connect or disconnect from things or people you normally wouldn't, remember this is not a normal time and it will not last forever.

5) You are stronger than you think - You may get to the end of each day wondering why you are so exhausted from "not doing anything". But if your lockdown days end up being anything like mine, you will find yourself spending almost every waking moment problem-solving things you never even knew would be a problem (like what happens after all the toilet paper, baby wipes, tissues, napkins, and paper towels run out with potty-training twins and markets haven't been open in weeks). You will find that your life will look like Pinterest meets Survivor as you figure out how to decorate for birthdays, celebrate holidays, and try to create as much normalcy for your kids in a world that is not normal while trying to reassure them (and yourself) that this won't last forever.

Hang in there mamas (and dads, grandparents, aunties, and everyone in this socially-distanced village). You've got this!

Students and COVID19 Anxiety

Dr. Nathaan Demers is an alumnus of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver and is currently the VP & Director of Clinical Programs with Grit Digital Health. In this interview with Colorado's Own Channel 2 he talks about how technology, if used correctly, can be a resources for parents and kids during the current pandemic.

Things You Can Do to Support Yourself

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.

Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Coronavirus Anxiety: Key Advice for Chronic Illness Patients from Health Psychologists

If you’re feeling anxious and helpless about the coronavirus right now, join the club. This sentiment is very common among CreakyJoints members, especially those who are immune-compromised. These feelings are completely normal, even if if seems like other people think you’re overreacting.

The anxiety that you are experiencing is what’s called “adaptive” — which means it is a natural and healthy response to the coronavirus. “It means you’re appraising your risk,” says Kim Gorgens, PhD

Important Conversations: Anxiety Management and Wellness

By Kim A. Gorgens, Ph.D., ABPP - Dr. Gorgens is a Clinical Professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the routines of your practice and the lives of your patients, it's important to recognize how easily every normal or adaptive emotional response (e.g., fear, anger, sadness) can evolve into rumination, despair, panic, and even hopelessness.

As a psychologist with more than 20 years of experience in treating clients, training clinicians, and researching the effects of stress, I am sharing tools that I use in my practice, recommend other practices adopt and have even adopted for my own mental health. Now, more than ever, we are called upon to heal ourselves.

As Fear of Coronavirus Spreads, Here’s How to Keep a Cool Head

Dr. Judith Fox is the Director of the International Disaster Psychology Program at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology.

California has declared a state of emergency, schools are closing, and public gatherings from NCAA basketball games to Ralph Lauren’s fall show at New York Fashion Week have been canceled. As the reports on the coronavirus, or COVID-19, unceasingly roll in and phrases like “possible pandemic” and “state of emergency” are tossed around, it’s hard not to feel anxious, depressed—or to descend into full-on panic.

I’ve been toggling among all three of these reactions. When I’m not hitting the refresh button on a live map of the virus’s spread, I’m avoiding crowds and quietly edging away from anyone who even clears his throat. And while I haven’t yet begun to dread-shop for bottled water and dried beans, my ever-present germophobia has ratcheted up to stratospheric levels. Every surface seems as if it’s teeming with harmful organisms as I douse my gym equipment with alcohol. On a recent (half-empty) flight, I vigorously wiped down my airline seat and tray like Naomi Campbell (although I stopped short at donning disposable sterile gloves, as she does).

The absence of a definitive treatment for COVID-19 only exacerbates our unease, says Judith Fox, PhD, the director of the University of Denver’s International Disaster Psychology program. Although statistically we are much more likely at the moment to catch the flu, “that isn’t as anxiety-provoking for people because they’re used to hearing about seasonal flu, and there’s a vaccine you can take,” she says. “This is completely new, and that ambiguity and uncertainly ramps up people’s anxiety.”

Resources for Caregivers

Parentline Colorado

Parentline Colorado is a free telebehavioral health service offering brief, strategic psychotherapy through video chat and telephone to pregnant and postpartum families with children up to age five. This program is being piloted by the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialty at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Our team strives to:

  • Provide user-friendly and high-quality mental health services
  • Reach communities that don’t have easy access to mental health services for expecting families or families with young children
  • Reduce potential barriers including cost, stigma, childcare, geographic distance, transportation, and language as the service will be initially offered in English and Spanish

Contact us at GSPP.PARENTLINE@DU.EDU OR AT 303-871-7935


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