Out of the Mouths of Babes: We Are a Team

April 17, 2020

It is one thing to hear from colleagues about how patients and the public are coping with the pandemic. It is quite another to hear directly from children. Five-year-old Adam, his parents, and I invite you to join Team Earth. Here’s why.

An introduction to Team Earth: A Message of Hope.

CORONAVIRUS CHRONICLES

It is one thing to hear from colleagues about how patients and the public are coping with the pandemic. It is quite another to hear directly from children. Five-year-old Adam, his parents, and I invite you to join Team Earth. Here’s why.

With any widespread societal crisis, parents inevitably ask psychiatrists and other mental health professionals how to talk to their children about trauma. Of course, this has been true for the coronavirus pandemic. Because our everyday lives have been altered and the return to what was is nowhere in sight, answering such questions is even more challenging.

As you may have noticed, Psychiatric Times has tried to address how our youth are feeling about this with recent contributions by 15-year-old Mira Goldstein and 16-year-old Maddy Duerr. Now, we are sharing a unique communication by Adam and his mother, whose story first came to me by a friend of a friend. My friend worked in China for years and had a friend there who was an “American Israeli,” married to a “Spanish” woman. Together, they all left China about 3 months ago and are waiting out the epidemic in California.

When I read the “booklet” put together by the mother-son duo, I was moved to tears, both of sadness and joy. Indeed, it was so insightful and inspiring to me that it led to my last Coronavirus Chronicle, “From Tragedy to Realism: The Role of Optimism in Pandemic Recovery.”

I thought the booklet would be a valuable resource in particular for child and adolescent psychiatrists, their young patients, and families. I hope it is helpful for others in mental health care who wonder what young children are worried about as far as the coronavirus and the accompanying flood of losses.

Beyond that, I found it to be a work of art, and an informal example of art therapy. The family wants this to be a gift to us and other families. As the father wrote to me:

“We would love to show Adam’s drawings to other parents and kids who are just now starting their ‘voyage’; we are sure it can do a lot of good.” I am sure, too, and hope you will find it helpful.