Updated: Oct 20, 2022
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic the church has a unique ministry and missional opportunity to meet the needs of children and adults suffering from loss and separation. There will likely never be a more pressing need for ministry focused on traumatized children and adults. The present opportunities include, becoming a source of health, wellness and well-being education for our communities. The Post-Traumatic Stress created by the pandemic demands that the church create ministries for children that connect them to loving and nurturing communities.
Kentucky has been hit just as hard as many other states. What most may find surprising is who Covd-19 associated death has hit the hardest. See the table below taken from the KY Covid-19 Weekly Report July 25, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to plague the nation and world as new variants with greater transmissibility and infectiousness emerge. The Omicron B.5 variant now makes up approximately 82% of all Covid variants in the United States according to Reuters News Service. While vaccines have reduced the incidence of serious illness and deaths resulting from infection. The resulting psychological impacts cannot be so easily addressed. According to The Lancet, (a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal) “COVID vaccines reduced the potential global death toll during the pandemic by almost two-thirds in their first year, saving an estimated 19.8 million lives, according to a mathematical modeling study yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
An additional 600,000 lives could have been spared if a World Health Organization (WHO) goal of vaccinating 40% of the population of every country by the end of 2021 had been met, the authors of the study say.” Reported the University of Minnesota Center for Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)
The success of the vaccine in preventing nearly 20 million deaths is praiseworthy. The present and pressing need remain to stay safe by masking, washing hands, and distancing as new treatments and vaccines are being developed. One growing epidemic resulting from the Pandemic is the need for psychological support due to post-pandemic traumatic stress. A study published in Frontiers of Psychology Journal entitled: “Post-traumatic Stress and Growth Among the Children and Adolescents in the Aftermath of COVID-19” stated, “two studies that examined 919 adults with COVID-19 found a high rate 96.2% of Post Traumatic Stress.”
Children have not been spared the ravages of the pandemic in terms of infections and psychological assaults. According to The Lancet, The number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death is estimated to have increased by 90·0% worldwide. The Lancet projected through modeling, that the number of children orphaned by Covid-19 associated death of a parent or guardian exploded from 2,737, 300 in April 2021 to 5,200,000 by October 2021.
The result is psychological trauma and stress related to the trauma. Trauma in children becomes an Adverse Childhood Experience (A.C.E.) which has proved to be a predictor of future achievement and failure in youth. A.C.E.’s are known to lead to a host of life-altering challenges. According to an article published in Forbes magazine entitled: “Covid-19 has orphaned 5.2 million children” there is a moral and public health mandate to address the needs of the children damaged emotionally by the pandemic saying,
“With the pandemic far from over, we have both a moral and public health imperative to protect and support these children from direct and secondary harms. Children’s lives are permanently changed by the loss of a mother, father, grandparent, or other primary caregivers. The loss of a parent is an adverse childhood experience that is linked to a greater risk of dropping out of school, lower self-esteem, suicide, violence, sexual abuse, and developing anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems. These impacts could be compounded further by the circumstances and additional stressors of the pandemic." Source: Forbes
The opportunities are numerous and place a demand on already stretched resources of government, communities and churches. The one reality is that the church can ill-afford to ignore the suffering of the children in our midst and not rise in some way to meet the challenge of giving life in the face of all the death surrounding the Church.