Free online support groups available through COVID Recovery Iowa

COVID Recovery Iowa has begun offering virtual support groups for parents, teens and pre-teens. Mandy Gesme, Child and Family Team Lead for COVID Recovery Iowa, said the organization has been getting many requests from parents for activities they can do with their children, and advice for how to help their teenagers through the pandemic.

“We thought it would be great to give them the chance to talk to each other with their ideas and strategies,” Gesme said. “It’s just one more resource we can provide.”

COVID Recovery Iowa is for all Iowans who have been affected in any way by COVID-19. In addition to support groups, activities and resources, COVID Recovery Iowa offers free, confidential virtual counseling to all Iowans. Activities include cooking classes, yoga and meditation and more to help Iowans through this stressful time.

The Parents group will meet via Zoom each Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Find out more by emailing Chelsea.Siefken@pathwaysb.org.

Gesme and her team are also hearing about how the pandemic is affecting teenagers. “The support group can be an outlet for teens to talk about what is frustrating about this situation and why this summer feels different than last summer.”

Gesme said it is very hard for anyone, especially teenagers, to figure out how to navigate relationships via social media. Some teens may also be faced with extra responsibilities due to the pandemic.

“Whether it’s for family financial support, child care or extra duties around the house because their parents are essential workers,” Gesme said. “It is also helpful for teens to understand that they are not the only ones who are struggling. This will be an opportunity for them to meet and talk with other teens all over the state.”

The teen support group will meet Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 2 p.m. Find out more by emailing Caitlin.Pixler@pathwaysb.org.

Pre-teens need help coping with the anxiety of not knowing, Gesme said. “Not knowing what the school year is going to be like, not knowing when they will see friends or extended family, not knowing what activities they will be able to participate in,” she explained.

The group can help offer a social outlet for this age group, Gesme said, as they are often not as independently successful on social media as older teens. “The support group can promote making these social media connections and skills with the guidance of our skilled group leader.”

The pre-teen support group will meet via Zoom Mondays at 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 1 p.m. For more information, contact Chelsea.Siefken@pathwaysb.org.
 

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