Dr. Robert Sege, 7/29/20, positiveexperience.org/blog
In times and places when Covid-19 is on the upsurge, most of us worry about our own safety and that of the ones we love. Is it a safe to go to work? It is safe for children to go to school? When will the pandemic and this uncertainty ever stop? At other times, public health restrictions are first in our minds—we can’t gather to celebrate or mourn, we need to wear masks to protect others even if we don’t feel sick ourselves, and every interaction with the outside world, even going grocery shopping, has become complicated. Given all this, it’s no surprise that more people are experiencing depression and anxiety. However, research shows how well people adapt in the midst of adversity or changing conditions. Our mental health can rebound even in the face of unprecedented disruption – as long as our basic needs are met.
Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) begins with this fundamental finding, that human beings are resilient and adaptable. The research behind HOPE shows that even in the presence of childhood adversity, positive childhood experiences allow us to heal. Most of us experience both adverse and positive experiences, beginning with our first foundational relationships with our parents.
With this work in mind, we recently met with the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development – Early Childhood (RAPID-EC) project team from the University of Oregon’s Center for Translational Neuroscience. The RAPID-EC project has been conducting weekly surveys of families with young children (from birth to age 5) since April 2020, in an effort to determine child development, caregiver mental health and well-being, and caregiver needs and utilization of resources during this Covid-19 pandemic. (Reports from these surveys are available to the public at this link.) This blog post focuses on mental health issues, based on reports that the RAPID-EC team produced in June: “Flattening the Other Curve” and “Flattening the Other Curve, Part 2.”