Child psychiatrist Dr. Matt Burkey said the COVID-19 pandemic adds stress to people’s lives, especially people who already deal with anxiety. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake child, adolescent psychiatrist shares ways to handle COVID-19 anxiety

Keeping up with regular routines is also important for parents

A child and adolescent psychiatrist in Williams Lake said some parents and children in the community are exhibiting fear and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is especially the case for people who already deal with anxiety,” Dr. Matt Burkey told the Tribune Wednesday.

A second issue he’s hearing about is the change of routines for children now that school has been cancelled indefinitely.

“Children will not have the activities they look forward to or are used to participating in scheduled, as well as their social outlets. That’s a big thing. It causes a lot of worry.”

Burkey said a lot of services that normally support families are being affected because workers are having to stay home or there is service disruption in terms of face-to-face groups and sessions.

“That is going to impact families around the province,” Burkey said.

Read more: Coronavirus self-assessment soars in B.C., 1-888-COVID19 line picking up

Offering advice, he suggested parents talk with their children about COVID-19, answer their questions in a way they can understand and provide reassurance they are safe.

“I think another one is remembering to do other things and not just check for news updates all the time,” he added. “Limiting exposure to the news a bit is a good thing.”

Keeping up with regular routines is also important for parents.

“With schools being closed, it will be a good idea to create schedules as much as you can for doing things, relaxing together, and finding some other ways to build in some structure.”

He recommended the Kelty Mental Health site at as a good resource and said there will be some COVID-19 specific information added in the coming days.

“They have a lot of good information,” he said of the site.

Being a role model for children is also key, Burkey said.

“Parents need to take breaks, get sleep, take care of themselves and stay connected with friends and family, even if it’s by phone or Skype. It’s difficult to take care of your children when you are feeling stressed.”

As a parent, himself, he said his own children are still in the ‘honeymoon stage’ of being excited that spring break has been extended.

“Nothing has really hit home too hard yet, but our kids still have questions and are noticing things are different.”

A lot of families are already under stress and COVID-19 is adding more stress in terms of finances and child care.

“It’s not just about ‘will I get infected or not?”

Burkey encouraged everyone to stick with credible information sources that talk about symptoms and the status of the outbreak if they have concerns about their own health.

Burkey has been in Williams Lake since 2016 and works out of the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre and at Child and Youth Mental Health.

Read more: New psychiatrist joins team at CDC

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirusmental health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo real estate sales stall, decline due to struggling resource industries, COVID-19

Sales down in every Cariboo city over the same time last year

Keeping B.C. together while staying apart, Royal BC Museum creates webinar series

Museum and archives responds to COVID-19 with online programs for all ages

Williams Lake city council to meet by teleconferencing due to COVID-19

Williams Lake city council will be holding its meetings by teleconference during… Continue reading

‘Keeping workers safe is crucial in times of COVID-19’: Hospital Employees’ Union

Cannot fight a virus without housekeeping in hospitals, care homes, said Jennifer Whiteside

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Sinclar Group curtailing all sawmill operations temporarily

Nechako Lumber, Apollo Forest Products and Lakeland Mills to be curtailed for three weeks starting April 5.

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Most Read