School year health plan

Thursday, August 13, 2020

 The 2020–21 school year is starting with a good deal of uncertainty as many kids and their parents prepare for distance learning. While we can’t help you teach 10th-grade math, we can offer support for medical and mental health issues that might come up.

24-Hour NurseLine

You know those mornings when you wake up to a sick child and you’re not quite sure if they’re OK or should see a doctor? You can call our 24-Hour NurseLine for a medical advice. The phone number is on the back of your member ID card.

Your plan also offers virtual care options. Your doctor’s office might offer a virtual care or sign into your account to see what care apps are covered on your plan.

These can be great options when your child is experiencing minor symptoms like a runny nose or upset stomach. If you think your child may have COVID-related symptoms, a call the nurseline or your child’s doctor for advice. 

Mental health

In this unusual year, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on kids’ mental health. Parents know their kids best, so if you find that your child isn’t acting like themselves, discuss it with their care provider.

Kids don’t typically verbalize when they’re feeling stressed or anxious like adults do. Instead, their stress often manifests as behavioral changes, such as decreased school performance, social withdrawal, or disciplinary issues. They might also have vague physical complaints like frequent headaches or stomachaches that don’t have an identifiable physical cause. 

A few things to try:

  • Taking a break from screens: We’re all spending more time on our devices while we’re at home and kids are no different. Set a time limit on screen time and set an example by abiding by this limit yourself.
  • Playing outside: Getting outside and being active is important for kids. Time spent in nature provides a much-needed reprieve from technology and can relieve stress. Remember that many people, including children, are feeling the effects of less social engagement. Being outdoors allows for safer interaction with others by providing space for social distancing.
  • Watching their media diet: Even if the news is just on in the background, kids are picking up on headlines and the underlying tone. The goal is not to completely shelter your child from what’s going on in the world, but to limit exposure to anxiety-provoking material. If they have questions about current events, try talking it out. In this way you become their primary source of information, rather than the media.
  • Taking care of you: Caregivers are feeling an enormous amount of stress right now and even the littlest of kids can pick up on that. It’s OK to tell your child that you need to talk to your therapist, take a yoga class, or engage in some self-care.

 Premera offers mental health services at in-person or virtually through TalkSpace.

Empower your child

Things feel different right now—for all of us. We are wearing masks every day, being hypervigilant about hand washing, and having minimized interaction with others. Rather than a fear-based response, frame these behaviors as something kids can do to exercise some control over the situation.

Explain to kids that by wearing a mask in public, regularly washing their hands, and staying home, they are taking steps to keep themselves healthy. Appeal to their compassionate side: explain that they can be a superhero for someone else since these behaviors also prevent other people from getting sick.

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