Turkish experts urge communication against virus stress

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As mental health becomes more important than ever as social isolation measures are put in place to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Turkish psychologists emphasized the need for healthy communication to protect children from the psychological effects of the ongoing global pandemic.

In a statement, experts at the Ibn Haldun University (IHU) in Istanbul said the new measures significantly changed the normal flow of life and instilled feelings of fear, anxiety and desperation.

Asserting that children were at risk of being the most affected by the course of these precautions, they made some recommendations to adults to help get them through the COVID-19 pandemic as comfortably as possible.

First, the statement urged guardians to give children age-appropriate information on the outbreak and virus, making sure that the child had accurate knowledge suitable for their age and mental development without expecting them to make sense of the entire issue.

The experts also encouraged healthy communication with children, asking them how they felt about the ordeal, as well as their experiences, feelings, fears and concerns.

Some children are better at expressing themselves than others. It would be better to ask what they are going through emotionally after asking what they know about the coronavirus, they said.

Finally, the statement recommended that parents reassure their children that the virus can be kept "under control."

Explaining that children may feel fear and anxiety, it said that telling them what they could do to contain the virus and prevent infection could have a relaxing effect. In particular, it suggested emphasizing the importance and role of hygiene.

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