Ten Effects Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On Children

The editor of ‘The Tam Roll’, who posed the question, “Why are we alive?”, apparently likes to move around in the tangled shrubbery of philosophy. But, on the other hand, he may be in the throes of great fear and trembling as he contemplates the futility of human life. If the first is the case, it’s good; if the second is the case, it’s bad. And for this reason the only answer to that question is: “Man must live for the sake of living,” even if this sounds strange and single-minded. For man, the whole purpose, the whole meaning of life lies in life itself, in the process of living. To comprehend the purpose and meaning of life, one most above all love life and become totally submerged in the turmoil of living, it is only then that one can grasp the meaning of life and understand why one is alive. Unlike everything that man has created, life requires no theory: he who understands the sheer experience of living will by the same token understand the theory of life. 

~ The Diary of the Student Kostya Ryabtsev 

Are the children all right? Here’s a look at how the pandemic is affecting our children and how Heilkunst Medicine can make them stronger.

COVID-19 and the pandemic response have had considerable effects on an entire generation of children—and recovery could take years in conventional medicine. Here are areas where the pandemic has left its mark on the world’s children and how Heilkunst trauma therapy can help our youngest generations now and into the future.

What’s The Point?!

Children are incredibly sensitive. They pick up feelings in their surroundings.  Being masked, treated like pariahs, not being able to visit Grandma or hang out with their peers has devastating consequences.  Being told by a friend’s mom that they can’t come over to play with their best friend because they’re ‘un-vaxxed’ (or alternatively vaxxed, and shedding) opens a whole devastating can of emotional worms, causing some kids to make medical choices with far reaching implications despite their family’s ethics on the subject.  

I serve one young man whose mother’s husband is in the military and he insisted the stepson get the shot, even though the father and his wife were  dead set against it. The mother and stepfather didn’t even consult with the biological father!  The ramifications for the son were devastating!  He was caught in the tide between two opposing forces and could not win in either camp. 

Children just want to do the right thing and naturally don’t have all the pieces of the bigger picture. I ended up detoxing the son from the protocols both physically and mentally/emotionally.  This divisive time is clearly tearing our children’s moral compass in two and putting them in compromised circumstances never before imagined.

Other kids I’ve served are simply devastated.  They perceive that they don’t have a future.  How can they date in this lockdown climate? One young woman I’ve served was doing ‘cooking classes’ online with her prospective love interest from another town.  She finally gave up stating, “If he doesn’t have enough courage to meet me in person, then he doesn’t have what it takes to be with me anyways.” 

More and more, I’m hearing these stories of impotent social connection producing feelings of powerlessness against prevailing forces acting like an abusive, narcissistic partner. It’s not uncommon for the children I serve to tell me how much they hate the government for destroying their lives.  I tend to agree.

The government, as per Dr. Wilhelm Reich, are asexual, contactless, moral junkies devoid of any knowledge of true democracy or the true essence of life, “You beg for happiness in life, but security is more important to you, even if it costs you your spine or your life. Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion; when your thinking will be in harmony with your feelings; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians; when you will have more respect for the love between man and woman than for a marriage license.”

Natural Unfolding/Childhood Development

I thankfully grew up in a time when I spent hours riding my bike like the wind, building forts in the woods, and skateboarding all over the neighborhood.  There was one rule and that was that we had to be home when the streetlights came on. 

As for the current population of children living through these times, little data exists on how the pandemic may specifically influence their development. “It’s no surprise that the pandemic creates all these different potential risks to child development,” Gary Blau, Ph.D., executive director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston, Texas says, “We’re going to have to attend to those in the months and the years to come.”

The issues cut across all age groups. For younger children, learning key social skills can be delayed without access to daycares or playdates.  Also, so many social cues are learned from people’s facial expressions and experiencing almost two years of face coverings on people can be deleterious for their development. For older children, isolation means fewer opportunities to build crucial relationships.

Teens and youth I serve spend hours playing video games, citing that there really isn’t anything else to do and it’s the only way they feel that they can be social while also exercising some of the pent up rage they feel by killing off the ‘bad guys.’  We don’t really have long term studies on how hours on a blue-light screen affects children long-term. When we test both children and adults, we find them chronically low in vitamin D3 (1,200 IUs/day for a teen, 500 IUs/day for children). What happened to racing the moon on one’s CCM?!

“Adolescence specifically is a critical developmental state because young people are trying to transition into adulthood,” says Tamera Coyne-Beasley, M.D., M.P.H., the Derrol Dawkins, M.D., Endowed Chair in Adolescent Medicine, Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. “They’re now trying to figure out who they are, and a really important part of that is trying to develop stable, healthy, and meaningful relationships with their peers—that’s what is hard.”the mechanics of learning.  In places like Mexico, where we live, one English teacher told me that kids that don’t come from affluent homes often suffer poor internet connections. This makes it hard to learn effectively online due to repeated dropped connections, as the bandwidth isn’t supported in more rural communities. 

Blau says the key to mitigating these risk factors moving forward is to make parents and caregivers sensitive to a child’s world to identify and work toward solving potential issues. “It’s not only about pediatricians, doctors, and psychologists—it’s about the family members, teachers, neighbors, police officers, and coaches,” he says. “Everyone who’s touching a child’s life should be aware of the signs and symptoms when a child is having problems, know what they are and how to help or make referrals.”

It sounds odd but the way that our culture has been fashioned, parents are sometimes the last to know of their children’s developmental challenges.  It’s not easy to see what’s right in front of you if you’re not apprised of the signs of your child’s deeper struggle.  More and more, I’ve been told monthly, of yet another teen in my patient’s communities who has committed suicide during the last two years.  It’s clear that our children need more opportunities to access the care and acknowledgment they need at this time, not less. They also need meaningful contact with their peers!

Mom And Dad Are Stressed

Schooling has recently changed.  Children are self-educating more and more, being whipsawed often to school on-line, back in school limited hours or one parent is trying to educate full-time now.  Needless to say, children have had to be more adaptable than ever before to the expectations of false authority.  What are the long term effects of this whipsaw action? Is it conditioning them for the whims and tides of tyranny as opposed to listening to their inner volition?

Parents are trying to adjust to what they feel is their so-called new responsibilities as ‘teachers’ while burdened by also trying to support the family. Children that can work autonomously have thrived while others have flatlined their education as online learning regulated by others quite often feels disconnected for children and educators alike. Both miss being with their friends and students in real time. Many tell me, even though they’re internet connected, they feel entirely disconnected interpersonally. As humans we love meaning, connection, and the many faceted nuances of being face to face.

We’ve been getting reports of feeling isolated, depressed, anxious, and angry, as for many, school is more about hanging out with friends than just the mechanics of learning.  In places like Mexico, where we live, one English teacher told me that kids that don’t come from affluent homes often suffer poor internet connections. This makes it hard to learn effectively online due to repeated dropped connections, as the bandwidth isn’t supported in more rural communities. 

Children are also profoundly aware of the stress their parents are under and cite that the parent, “just doesn’t seem happy anymore.”  Clearly, the increased financial burdens and stress of trying to work, educate the children, and find other ways to entertain the babes in one lockdown after another causes parents to shoulder more emotional distress than most know how to handle.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study published earlier this year reports four in ten adults nationwide have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder—a four-fold increase from pre-pandemic levels. And adults in households with children under 18 years old were more likely to report these symptoms.

“You’ve got parents who are stressed—they may have lost jobs, and there are financial stressors out there,” says Gary Blau, Ph.D., executive director of The Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston, Texas. “There’s a whole host of environmental factors that have given rise to significant increases in concerns related to children’s mental health.”

Children’s hospitals rapidly ramped up telehealth services, but it doesn’t account for those children or adults who can’t identify that there’s even a problem requiring support.  We come from an ‘I’m ok” culture unwilling to ask for help until things become very dire. There is a shortage of mental health care workers in the U.S., especially for children.

We’re also hearing about stress in our maternal patients.  I’ve heard the question, “What future could my unborn baby possibly have in these perilously restrictive times?” There has always been a strong correlation between the positive outcome of a pregnancy and birth based on a mother’s state of mind.

 In Utero Stress 

As authors of, The Eight Steps to Natural Fertility, we know that our circumstances and toxic load play a part in our capacity to conceive and carry a baby to term.  The tyrannous nature of these times are certainly taking their toll and I sadly hear of one miscarriage after another.  

A 2020 Journal of Pediatrics report cites long-term follow-up studies of individuals conceived and in utero during pandemics, natural disasters, and famines, including the 1918-1919 flu pandemic, the North American ice storm of 1998 (when I gave birth under very stressful conditions), and the Chilean earthquake of 2010. Those studies show the potential for lifelong negative consequences of such shocks, including lower educational attainment, increased likelihood of obesity, noncommunicable diseases, and mental health problems.

Those studies show the potential for significant negative consequences of such shocks, including difficulty absorbing new information, increased likelihood of obesity, noncommunicable diseases and mental health problems.

I Don’t Want To Be At Home

Not all kids thrive at home.  Some homes are highly toxic.  Some suffer at the hands of a depressed or abusive parent.  Some children are too young to stay at home alone, or their older siblings feel the burden of having to look after them while their parents work.  Other’s don’t like having to stay with their grandmother who tends to be hyper critical or distant. It’s a mixed bag and no one size fits all.

As I wrote in my book, Self-Education for Excellence, consider seeking out natural mentors in your area to have a small community daycare or forest school in their home.  Perhaps the care of the children can be rotated between parents or caregivers in your area.  Look into Sudbury Schools, allowing children to free-range their education out of their own volition in a healthy and nurturing space, where caregivers are hired by the children and  want to be there.

Educational inequality—unequal access to education and the unequal outcomes for students that result—in the U.S. is due mostly to several socioeconomic factors and were present long before COVID-19. And while pandemic-related changes in schooling affected all children, disadvantaged student populations were more heavily affected.

“I see a widening disparity of educational attainment given the challenges larger districts in particular have faced throughout the pandemic—especially in our large cities—and just how hard it’s been to get schools to reopen in those cities,” says David Rubin, M.D., MSCE, director, PolicyLab, and director of population health innovation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “How quickly we bounce back from that is going to be important.”

Early attempts to bounce back involved widespread remote learning programs, but those also exposed inherent inequities.

“Virtual school participation requires some economic resources, like having a computer and internet access,” Coyne-Beasley says. “And I think children, particularly younger kids, do best with virtual school when they have someone who can assist them; if they have a parent who has to work and can’t be home, it’s difficult for them to get the help they might need.”

Coyne-Beasley adds that remote learning modalities can be especially difficult for children with learning disabilities or those who simply fare better in a social learning format.

“It’s a year of lost education, and the data would suggest that’s hugely impactful,” Rubin says. “It’s going to be a tremendous challenge because the disparity in terms of that education gap has widened as we’ve gone through this pandemic.”

Childhood Trauma Shows Up As Chronic Health Problems

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to chronic health problems, mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood. At Arcanum Wholistic Clinic, we’ve been addressing childhood traumas for thousands of youth, children, and adults for the last twenty plus years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60% of adults have reported they had experienced at least one type of ACE, such as divorce, death in the family, violence, or any aspect of the environment that undermines a child’s sense of safety, stability, and bonding. Nearly 1 in 6 adults reports experiencing four or more types of ACEs.

Pediatric medicine has been on the rise for the last fifty years, placing an increased emphasis in more recent years on identifying and mitigating ACEs, but restrictions associated with the pandemic may be amplifying some of them. Social isolation, job loss, school closures, and other stressors the pandemic caused could expose children to ACEs, especially those associated with job, food, and housing insecurity.

The pandemic’s social and economic effect on families—including those in low-income and populations of color, which are disproportionately affected by COVID-19—could have lingering effects for years.

“Anyone who experiences adverse community environments like high unemployment, limited economic mobility, food deficits, and poor housing conditions are at greater risk of getting COVID-19,” Coyne-Beasley says. “And having high unemployment generally means you aren’t going to have easily accessible health insurance, or you aren’t going to be able to leave your job when you or your child is sick.”

As the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 continues to climb, many children and adolescents must deal with the significant adverse childhood experience of losing a loved one. According to a model published in JAMA Pediatrics, nearly 40,000 children have lost a parent during the last 24 months.

“Bereavement predicts negative outcomes to a larger extent than even trauma does,” Blau says. “We have a large group of young people who have lost parents and family members; we must address the issue of bereavement in children.”

Genetic Miasms Under Pressure

In the spring, the Genetic Miasm, Medorrhinum, flares. In our clinics,  we see more incidences of asthma, wet-croupy coughs, joint pain, restless leg syndrome, and even heart issues in both adults and children.  

In the fall, Psorinum is the Chronic Miasm that looms.  It shows up with a dry cough, itchy skin and eyes, and ragweed.

By the time Christmas comes around, Tuberculinum is in our midst and we have high fevers, hard coughs until the patient vomits, and weeks of bronchitis.  All of these chronic diseases are aggravated by stress, mediocre diets, and lack of adequate supplementation when necessary.

The Need For More Integrated Support

During the pandemic, our practice has doubled.  We’re often booked several months in advance. We often hear from our patients that they feel at their wits end, “When will it end? When can we go back to life as normal? How long can this possibly last?” Folks we serve in Australia, Canada, and Austria have reported regular sensations of suffocation due to mental strain from escalating restrictions over the last 24 months.

Folks are quite often not getting the care they need as access to their allopathic doctors have been limited due to ‘shelter in place’ ordinances.  Also, so called elective surgeries have been shelved for months causing inordinate physical and mental pain, and in some unfortunate cases, even death. It’s a pandemic of neglect!

A 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report showed  downward trends in health care utilization during the pandemic.

From January to May 2020, the number of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrolled children under age 2 receiving vaccinations declined by more than 30%. As a result, we’ve been able to provide more homeopathic immunizations to help cover off the gap. 

From March to May 2020, there were sharp declines in health services for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries ages 18 and under:

More than a 40% decrease in health screenings.

44% fewer outpatient mental health services.

Nearly 75% reduction in dental services.

And importantly, while child health services utilization has begun to increase as states relax stay-at-home guidelines, usage of these child health services has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Coyne-Beasley says she’s seen a drop in patient visits for adolescents during the pandemic—and it’s not just routine checkups that have been compromised.

“We’re not even getting people in to be seen for their chronic conditions,” Coyne-Beasley says. “If someone has asthma or any other chronic condition, they’re not coming into the office in the same way they would have previously.

The Covid Nightmare For Children

While hospitalization and death from COVID-19 is uncommon in children, providers are only beginning to understand the effects on the long-term physical health of children affected by accumulated stress and traumas in their midst.

“As we saw the pandemic unfolding and information was coming out about pediatric cases, we thought it would make sense for us to start a multi-disciplinary clinic to get a look at children post-COVID and provide them with multi-disciplinary care,” says Melissa Trovato, M.D., director of rehabilitation, Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Our goal is to help them get back to being kids, and that’s really what pediatric rehabilitation is all about—getting kids to live as functional and normal lives as possible.”

At Kennedy Krieger, a COVID-19 rehabilitation clinic addresses patient needs across disciplines, including occupational and physical therapy, speech-language pathology, behavioral health, and assistive technology. An evaluation determines the severity of the patient’s condition and whether rehabilitation services on an outpatient, day program, or inpatient basis are appropriate.

“The great thing about being in pediatric rehabilitation is that we can draw from our experience,”  Trovato says. “There might not be a one-treatment-fits-all solution, but as we assess children, it will drive what the care will look like in standardizing protocols.”

It may be several years before the full effects of the mental and emotional state of children as per the COVID-19 pandemic on kids are known. We can help with homeopathic remedies while also supporting parents at the same time.  We ran our business from home for years, and educated our children at home while also doing post graduate studies.  We have tips, tricks, and remedies that enabled our children to flourish into healthy, autonomous, self-motivated adults.

This modern day scourge has highlighted opportunities where children’s hospitals and health systems, along with natural approaches, can be more integrated and seamless in the support of children suffering mental, emotional, and physical challenges. For example, the crisis has underscored the importance of behavioral health as part of the physical component of care.

Rubin says, we need a more “… decentralized approach, but it captures kids and families where they are; there’s an important role as regional anchors that children’s hospitals need to play, and one this pandemic has really elevated in the months and years to come.”

The disproportionate effects of COVID-19 across economic, racial, and ethnic lines have highlighted inequalities in America—and elevated an area of focus for children’s mental and emotional care and well-being.

“One of the things hospitals can do, and you’re starting to see this more across the country, is to acknowledge that racism and inequities exist, and the social determinants of health and adverse childhood experiences really do matter,” Coyne-Beasley says. “Children’s hospitals also need to take intentional action to address or eliminate these disparities and experiences.”

Blau says the opportunity is there to build on community relationships. “The relationship between health providers, public health, and schools is stronger than it’s been in a long time,” he says. “If we invest in infrastructure now, we can solidify relationships that are primed to shape our response to kids’ needs in the years ahead.”

At Arcanum Wholistic Clinic, we open our arms to everyone we can. However, the system is set up so that those in need often aren’t able to access our services.  What if adults had an annual allowance from all the tax money they pay into the system and they got to decide what services feel most resonant to them? Fairness could be one way that folks can address the disparities in healthcare they experience.

Armouring In Our Babes

Lance goes on to describe the pointlessness one of her grade 11 students feels, “I try to take time at the beginning of class to ask my kids how they’re doing. Recently, one of my 11th grade students raised his hand and said that he wasn’t doing well, that he doesn’t want to keep living like this, but that he knows that no one is coming to save them. The other kids all nodded in agreement. They feel lied to—and I can’t blame them.”

We’ve all felt lied to, deceived, but kids lied to long-term aren’t like us adults who just put our heads down and suck on the marrow of adversity.  They’re not couched, they still have the instinct to turn-tail and run, but run to where?!  The feelings of being trapped have caused inordinate symptoms of suffocation in my young and elder patients. 

“Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man’s fear of the social responsibility and personal burden that “freedom” entails.”

Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

Our children deserve to unfold naturally, with little interference or impingement.  When they suffer rotating gestures of false authority they become trauma bonded, like an abused, defenseless woman in an abusive, narcissistic relationship.  Is this what we want for our children long-term?  This kind of armouring makes them feel defenseless, sympathetic storming with the ideas:

  • I’m dirty
  • I’m of no use
  • I can’t live my dreams
  • What’s the point?
  • I’m so scared
  • I feel demoralized
  • I feel marginalized

Stacey Lance cites, “??Teenage girls are notoriously empathetic. I see that many of my students, but especially the female ones, feel a heavy burden of responsibility. Right before Christmas, one of my brightest 12th graders confided in me that she was terrified of taking her mask off. She told me that she didn’t want to get anyone sick or kill anybody. She was worried she would be held responsible for someone dying.”

How do we resolve such trauma in those we serve?  We treat their sequential timeline using homeopathic law without causing an ounce of harm.  Right now, we’re treating those we lovingly serve for fears, terrors, anger, grief, guilt, resentment, and shame.  We coach kids that they’re not wrong to have these feelings but they have a right to wholly transcend them even in the face of such adversity.  We also do a good job of discrediting false authority, speaking to our inherent rights under the Creator – to breath, love, show affection- and that for thousands of years, no healthy humans have harmed others with their presence or breath. We also debunk the germ theory.  

These prevailing diatribes are a fabrication of fascism and we pull out the pages of the playbooks historically for them to see the nefarious game afoot.  We also point out that this is not sustainable and it’s up to us, and them (our youth), to gird our collective loins and create a new world untouched by false authority.  We’re in this together and there is a portal out through our own, individual consciousness.

“The fact that political ideologies are tangible realities is not a proof of their vitally necessary character. The bubonic plague was an extraordinarily powerful social reality, but no one would have regarded it as vitally necessary. ”

– Wilhelm Reich

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