Student telehealth service to help parents, kids cope - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Student telehealth service to help parents, kids cope

30 Mar 2020

As Queensland school children and their parents embark on their first week of official home schooling in response to the COVID-19 virus, USC’s clinical psychology student cohort are offering a new, free program to help families cope with the change in routine.

Provisionally registered psychologists who are studying to become clinical psychologists will run the Coping Kids program via phone or Zoom video conferencing.

USC Master of Psychology (Clinical) Program Coordinator Associate Professor Helen Stallman said the program teaches specific strategies to parents to manage their child’s emotional outbursts or anxiety.

“It can be really challenging for parents to know what to say or do when their child is upset and their behaviour becomes confronting,” Dr Stallman said.

“The Coping Kids program is five weekly sessions where not only the parent is taught new strategies to implement, but also armed with new ways to help their child manage their own behaviour and emotions long term.

Dr Stallman said many parents are already noticing their children becoming worried and upset since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Children thrive on certainty so, when their day-to-day life changes, they are likely to become more emotional and struggle to explain why,” she said.

“It’s important that parents help develop a new routine that works for their family to create that sense of certainty in the home. Of course, kids learn from their parents so if parents can model good coping mechanisms it will ultimately help their children.”

Dr Stallman said the program was also of equal benefit to the students who are training to become clinical psychologists.

“Under normal circumstances this would have been run as a face-to-face program, but we have changed to be able to provide the sessions via telehealth, which is an excellent opportunity for our cohort to become leaders in their field in this mode of clinical delivery,” she said.

The Coping Kids program is open to parents of children aged 2-17. To register interest in the free program you can email psychologyclinic@usc.edu.au or call on 07 5459 4514.

For more information on the USC Psychology Clinic.

- Megan Woodward

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