Learn about coping with grief and the unique losses associated with coronavirus and how this invisible enemy represents both a trauma as well as a variety of losses. Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes will explore how to recognize symptoms of grief and trauma in yourself and others as well as strategies that can help you reduce the impact of the situation on your physical and mental health.
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Grief, Trauma and the Coronavirus
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Identify the unique losses associated with coronavirus
Explore symptoms of trauma and grief
Identify ways to address trauma and grief related to the coronavirus
A traumatic event is any event that causes physical or emotional harm to a person directly or through seeing it happen to other people.
Coronavirus, cancer, influenza, and car accidents will each kill tens of thousands of people this year.
606,520 Americans will die of cancer in 2020
80,000 Americans died of the flu in 2018
38,000 Americans died from car accidents in 2019
67,300 Americans died from drug overdoses 2018
Coronavirus is traumatic for a wider swath of people because we are ALL seeing it ALL DAY.
Camraderie of colleagues
It is a normal reaction to a loss
Grief reactions differ based on
The number of losses associated with the event
Social support availability
Prior stressors in the past 6 months
History of mental illness or addiction
Common Physical Reactions to Grief
Increased muscle tension
Developmental regression in children
Common Emotions Associated with Grief
Depression/ Sadness/ Hopelessness
Disbelief – trouble accepting the reality
For not doing enough
For being healthy
For not planning for this
Weakness – frail, powerless
Common Cognitive Reactions
Difficulties in concentrating
Continuously thinking about the loss
Excessive searching for answers
Difficulty making decisions
Difficulty with problem solving
Trying to stay constantly active
Social withdrawal or clinginess
Being aggressive or irritable, getting more arguments
Increased “acting out” or “disorganization” in children
Changes in play with themes of loss in children
How to Cope with Covid Grief and Trauma
Accept your feelings without judgement
Identify the losses you are experiencing or thoughts you are having that are triggering those feelings
Ensure you are using fact-based reasoning
How at risk are you and your loved ones of getting sick, of financial instability, homelessness
What resources are available to you
What parts of the situation do you have control over
Identify any past issues this situation might be triggering
Identify the reactions you are having and address them individually
Be compassionate with yourself
Identify the meanings behind the symptoms or behaviors
Each time you have a thought about something you can’t do, identify what you can do instead
Coronavirus has caused people to experience a combination of both grief and trauma.
There is no magic cure for grief, and until we are able to start to find our new normal, many people will struggle with the loss of control and lack of answers.
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