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Pediatric health provider offers coping skills for kids

  • Category: Health & Wellness, Community
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Deb Sutton, Sweetwater Memorial Public Information Officer
Pediatric health provider offers coping skills for kids

Pediatrics Clinic program targets children 7-18

“When faced with stress, depression and anxiety, everyone needs help to COPE.”

That’s a message from the founders of COPE – Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment. The providers at the Pediatrics Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial agree.

Tamara Walker“Foundational coping skills are essential to all patients, but in my case, pediatric patients,” said Tamara Walker, the clinic’s pediatric nurse practitioner. “All of us have recently had our lives upended by something that is completely out of our control – COVID-19. This type of thing happens on a smaller scale every day.

“We often cannot control what is happening around us, but we do have control over how we process what is going on around us. This is where the COPE program becomes influential for my patients. It gives kids and teens the foundational skills that are needed to face stress and adversity without getting stuck in negative thought patterns that often show up in our clinic as anxiety or depression,” she said. “I couldn’t be more excited to have this program to assist the children in our community."

Walker has worked in the pediatric clinic for six months. She recently completed a pediatric mental health fellowship – the Kyss (Keep Your Children Safe and Secure) Fellowship – at Ohio State University.

She is now offering the COPE evidence- and manual-based program. It includes seven to eight sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy aimed at the development of coping skills.

“Kids who would benefit from help with stress, anxiety or depression ages 7-18 are ideal candidates for the program,” Walker said. “I will offer the sessions through Zoom after I meet with the child initially. As restrictions are loosened, I will be able to provide the sessions in person.”

“One out of four children, teens and young adults is dealing with stress, anxiety and depression,” according to the COPE website. “And, only 25% are getting the treatment they need."

COPE’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based (CBT) programs are designed to help children, teens and young adults deal with anxiety, stress, and depression by showing them how to develop the skills needed to stop negative thoughts and start thinking and behaving in more positive ways.

Learn: Seven manual-based CBT sessions that teach the skills necessary to help deal with problems and emotions, set goals, and feel happier and more positive.

Interact: By trying out new skills, writing about personal experiences, and working to find solutions to problems, children and teens are encouraged to change the way they think, act, and behave.

Engage: CBT-based skills-building activities encourage children and teens to live what they've learned throughout the week, strengthening their mental connections and behaviors that lead to positive change.

To find out more or to make an appointment with Walker, call 307-212-7717.