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'Super nerve-wracking': Kids describe feelings surrounding pandemic, U.S. Capitol riot

Current events have left many adults emotionally drained, but kids are feeling it, too.

Whether it's watching President Trump supporters storm into the U.S. Capitol or living during a pandemic, adults are not alone in trying to digest what they're seeing and experiencing. 

"I feel like coronavirus and all this, it's been like, super nerve-wracking,” said 12-year-old Waylon Zedonis. 

Thirteen-year-old Isaac Lewis said the election and current events had left him ”not really even wanting to listen to the news because I know it's just gonna be another crazy thing." Although Lewis said he's recently become hopeful. 

Charlie Busby, also 13, said he's trying not to overthink what's going on and is focused on living his life to the fullest.

”I used to have bad anxiety and when COVID came, it got really bad," said Busby. 

Current events have left many adults emotionally drained, but kids are feeling it, too.

”It's just like the sudden changes that are happening, like how sometimes, like, one minute you're in class the next, there's this big riot happening,” said Zedonis. 

Sarah Olson teaches 7th and 8th graders at the Seattle School for Boys. Olson's students were watching the events of January 6 unfold in real-time. 

”A lot of them felt really nervous. Some of them asked if they could step away, which I said absolutely take time. Some of them were having little bits of, like stomach aches or just feeling kind of nervousness in their bodies and other students were feeling really angry,” said Olson. 

Dr. Terry Lee, a child psychiatrist and Senior Behavioral Health Director of Community Health Plan of Washington, said kids are very stressed out right now. 

Lee said parents should check-in with their kids and provide thoughtful and age-appropriate information about current events. 

For parents worried about their child's emotional well-being, Community Health Plan of Washington suggests looking out for behavior changes like a shorter attention span or growing irritability and connect with a mental health provider. 

”It's important for the parents and adults to validate the child's experience and what they may be thinking and feeling,” said Lee. 

Heading into another eventful week, Lee suggests parents and kids keep a routine. 

”I think knowing what's going to happen next is healthy and reduces anxiety, but also to kind of mix things up a little and add some spice into your life.”

Isaac, Charlie, and Waylon are planning to watch the Inauguration Day events alongside all of their schoolmates, checking in about how they're feeling, with teachers guiding the discussion. 

RELATED: How to talk with children about violence at the Capitol

RELATED: Mental health needs on the rise for children and teens during pandemic

RELATED: How and when to talk to children about race and racism

Mental health resources from Community Health Plan of Washington: 

If you are unsure where to go for mental health counseling and don’t have a primary care provider or health insurance, there are other resources across the state, Washington’s 27 community health centers and specialized behavioral health centers like Consejo Counseling and Referral Service can connect you with the right person. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, call either the Washington Recovery Help Line at +1 (866) 789-1511 or Washington Listens at +1 (833) 681-0211.

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