COVID-19 Impact: Spotlight on Older Children and Adolescents

By Annette Ermshar
Special to The Outlook

Annette Ermshar

As a society, we can certainly acknowledge the serious impacts that COVID-19, quarantine, and social distancing has had on all of us. However, in my psychology practice, I have been particularly concerned with the rise of mental health issues in older children and adolescents. This age range thrives from being with peers, connecting through social outlets, and feeling validated by their social interactions. In the midst of school closures and stay-at-home orders, adolescents in particular have faced the challenges of continued virtual learning, minimal face-to-face peer interactions, a significant rise in depression, suicidality, and drug use, and uncertainty about their future.
In order to best appreciate how our adolescents are faring during these unprecedented times, it is necessary to understand this phase of development. Adolescence is a pivotal period when their relationships begin to reorganize. Older children and teenagers desire to have more independence and emotional distance from their parents, so they shift their focus to social interactions and broadening and deepening their friendships. Likewise, their sense of identity becomes strongly associated with their peer group as they develop a greater sense of self and learn who they are, what they like, and what image they want to portray.
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Armory Center for the Arts Reaches Out Online to Teach Art

Clockwise from left are Armory teaching artist Heather Hilliard, student Philip Sanchez, teaching artist Joe Sanchez, teaching assistant Nicole Magana, Heritage Square senior property manager Donna Hess and student Jila Ashrafi.

By Jon Lapointe
Special to The Outlook

Heritage Square Senior Apartments resident Philip Sanchez never took an art class and doesn’t like computers. “I’m technology challenged,” Sanchez confessed.
But that hasn’t stopped the 70-year-old from discovering new talents in weekly online art classes for Heritage Square residents taught by Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts and made possible through the generosity of local foundations.
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Judges, Courtroom Staff, Attorneys Must Quarantine for 14 Days

Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile recently announced that a judge assigned to a Dependency department in the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Courthouse in Monterey Park notified the court Tuesday of being diagnosed with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Although the judge has not been tested, in an abundance of caution, the court has asked the affected judge and court staff to self-quarantine. Due to privacy issues, names will not be released.
The court also has notified the agencies and attorney offices assigned to handle the cases in the affected department, including the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services; Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers; Children’s Law Center; Office of the Los Angeles County Counsel; and the Sheriff’s Department.
After receiving notification from the judge, the court cleaned and disinfected the courtroom and the judge’s chambers according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The courthouse, which handles adoptions and juvenile dependency, will remain open. The court will make every effort to advise all people who may have been exposed to the affected judge.
For the latest updates on coronavirus-related impacts to court operations, consult the court’s COVID-19 News Center located at the top of its homepage at lacourt.org.