MHSC: Help coping with stress, anxiety available

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Pediatric Clinic offers COPE program for those ages 8-21 — Openings are available in a program aimed at helping children, teens and young adults cope with stress and anxiety.

The Pediatric Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial launched the COPE – Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment – program May 2020. Since then, it has been successful in helping numerous children and young adults.

Tamara Walker, CPNP-PC – Pediatric Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial

“I’ve been seeing wonderful results for the children and teens who have completed the program,” said Tamara Walker, the clinic’s pediatric nurse practitioner and pediatric mental health specialist.

COPE is a seven-week cognitive behavioral therapy program designed to build resiliency skills in children and teenagers.

“Managing stress at a young age can be difficult at any time,” Walker said. “Juggling school at home and in the classroom in the middle of a pandemic can add even more pressure, leaving many of us feeling out of our control.”

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based (CBT) program is aimed at helping anyone from age 8 to 21 who is struggling with anxiety and depression.

COMMON SYMPTOMS:

  • Depression: Irritability, sadness, sleeping too much or too little, gaining or losing weight, feeling guilty or hopeless, having trouble concentrating or making decisions, thinking a lot about death or suicide.
  • Anxiety: Anger, irritability, nervousness, trouble separating from family, sleep disturbance, obsessive thoughts, somatic symptoms such as regular headaches or stomachaches.

CONSIDER THIS:

  • CBT programs are the gold standard for mild to moderately anxious and depressed kids and teens.
  • 1 in 4 children, teens and young adults have diagnosable and treatable mental health conditions.
  • Less than 25% of this population gets the treatment they need.
  • Depression is a significant risk factor for suicide.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24.

“We often cannot control what is happening around us, but we do have control over how we process what is going on around us,” Walker said when she launched the program in the spring. “This is where the COPE program becomes influential for my patients. It gives kids and teens the foundational skills that are needed to face stress and adversity without getting stuck in negative thought patterns that often show up in our clinic as anxiety or depression.”

Walker completed a pediatric mental health fellowship – the Kyss (Keep Your Children Safe and Secure) Fellowship – at Ohio State University last year. To find out more about the program or to make an appointment with Walker, call 307-212-7717.


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