Talk to kids about the pandemic: Vivek Murthy

Vivek Murthy

Father of two young children, top Indian American health official says it’s important to encourage kids to seek out help

Amid a surging wave of Omicron coronavirus variant, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is asking parents to start a conversation with children about the pandemic and encourage them to seek help.

It was important for parents to let children know it was not a sign of weakness to struggle during a tough time — and that it was important they seek help, he told CNN Sunday.

“Starting that conversation is important so kids know that it’s OK for them to come to you for help,” the top Indian American health official said noting he had two children of his own, ages 3 and 5.

Read: Covid-19 and the rise in mental health disorders (November 3, 2021)

“It’s also important for parents to encourage kids to seek out help, even if it’s not from them,” he said in response to a question about the continued impact of the pandemic on American children.

“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real and widespread,” Murthy stated in an advisory he issued earlier this month on the mental health of American children.

“The Covid-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating. “
Murthy said he understood why Americans were pessimistic and frustrated at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, but said “tremendous progress” has been made over the past two years and the country has learned how to confront the pandemic.

“We’ve lost so many people and our lives have been changed fundamentally, “he told CNN. “But those struggles shouldn’t obscure one critical thing, which is that we have made tremendous progress in this last two years as well.“

“We have saved more than a million lives because of vaccination efforts this past year alone. I know it may not always feel like the progress is enough.”

“But we’ve also gotten tools and developed tools to learn to live our lives, to gather with family and friends,” he said. “And those include not just the vaccines and the boosters, but testing, using masks judiciously, and using better ventilation and gathering in better ventilated spaces,”

“We will get to the end of this pandemic. It’s gone through twists and turns. But we will get there and we will get there together,“ Murthy added.

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