May 22, 2020

Pandemic or not, sexual predators are still out there trying to find their next victims. We all need to be careful and continue to keep a close eye on possible red flags.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Most children are stuck at home, with their family members, with closed schools and closed playgrounds. This can be stressful for everyone, adults as well as children. In spite of having to deal with this stressful time, the adults must keep in mind that sexual predators are still out there and we must continue to make sure that the children are not at risk.

Since the children are mostly stuck at home, the danger from outside is certainly minimized because the children are not spending a lot of time with outsiders. However, the dangers indoors can also be significant. First of all, children are likely to spend a lot more time online, exposing themselves to online predators. With the parents being extremely busy and stressed, it might be difficult to monitor everything the children are doing online.

Secondly, significant exposure to family members can also create risk for the children. It is well known that in many cases of child sexual abuse, the abuser is often a close family friend or a family member. With several family members stuck in the house for many days, there can be increased risks for the children.

The main point is that just because the children are not going outdoors a lot these days, does not mean the risks have gone away. Therefore, in spite of having to deal with the added stress of being stuck at home, we need to continue to remain vigilant about children’s safety.

May 14, 2020

I met many children around the country who were eager to talk to me about their mental health issues. This was an encouraging sign. I have tried my best to make sure school staff are able to follow up with parents to provide appropriate professional help.

Young children are often not able to express how they might be feeling. Children in middle schools or in high schools, often know that something is not right, but they worry about the stigma and decide not to disclose their issues to adults around them. I had experienced the same thing myself. My OCD started when I was 16 years old, but I kept it hidden from everyone until I was 21. That simply delayed the start of my treatment by 5 years.

That is why it is quite encouraging when some children come up to me and share their issues with me. This typically happens soon after one of my presentations. After listening to me they realize that there is no stigma attached to discussing openly about mental health issues and receive appropriate treatment as necessary. Also, they realize that if they share their issues with me, they will not be judged.

Anytime a child has come up to me and talked to me about his or her issues, I always made sure that some adults around them (such as school staff) are aware of the issues so they can work with the parents to check this out for the child. Most children feel relieved when they know that their issues are out in the open, in the hands of caring adults who will not judge them for these issues. I know I felt tremendous relief when I finally opened up and found that everything would be fine – it’s just an illness that needed to be treated.

May 07, 2020

 Many states are starting to reopen a bit with thousands of employees going back to work. My best wishes to all of them – I hope they will all find their workplaces safe and positive. This is a stressful time for everyone. I hope all managers and supervisors will be supportive.

All the places that are starting to reopen are having to deal with new conditions and regulations to keep everyone safe from getting infected by COVID-19. They all seem to be focusing on maintaining at least 6ft distance between workers, utilizing appropriate protective equipment, such as masks, etc, disinfecting work surfaces/equipment on a regular basis, and making sure that customers also follow appropriate procedures. This is the only way states can try to reopen some of the businesses. This is all new to everyone involved, but there does not seem to be any other way, until a vaccine or a reliable cure has been developed.

In spite of all these precautions, it will still be a difficult adjustment for many employees. This will continue to be an extremely stressful situation until it has been proven beyond reasonable doubts that these precautions are keeping everyone safe. Once we see that because of all these precautions, the case numbers are starting to go downwards rather than upwards, most people will start to feel better about the situation. Most people can get used to all these new precautions as long as they can be somewhat certain that they will be safe. That is why it is all the more important now for employers to remain extremely supportive and understanding of the concerns of the employees.

 

 

Apr 30, 2020

Even though our focus is being impacted significantly by the coronavirus situation, we must try our best to make sure we continue to keep an eye out for red flags in terms of prevention of child sexual abuse. Unfortunately bad things can still happen even in a crisis.

It is unfortunate, but bad things are happening all around us even during this awfully difficult time for our country. In some situations, it is happening even more since all of us are focused on what’s happening with the COVID-19 pandemic. I hear in the news every day that even though many of us are struggling to stay afloat during this difficult period, there are many out there who are trying to scam good people. It is hard to believe that there are people out there who are trying to take advantage of this situation in a negative manner while there are many who are risking their lives every day to save and help others.

There is no evidence that a pandemic like this will cause more incidents of child sexual abuse, but it is understandable that many of us are having to continually adjust to different situations and demands caused by the pandemic. And that can sometimes take focus away from other important things such as maintaining a close watch on red flags that can lead to child sexual abuse. Moreover, since children are more exposed to online activities during this period, we also need to keep an eye out for online predators – they are also out there looking for possible victims. Let’s try our best to keep all the children safe.

 

Apr 24, 2020

Even though schools are all closed at this time, children can still be subjected to cyber bullying. That too can have significant negative impact on mental health. The bottom line is that bullying has its impact, no matter how it is done.

At this difficult time, many children end up spending a lot of time on devices such as iphones or ipads for longer periods of time; and that can often expose them to cyber bullying. Bullies too have a lot of time on their hands to find victims to prey upon.

Whether it is done face-to-face or via on-line, the main purpose of bullying is still the same. The bully tries his/her best to establish control over the victim and engages in activities that typically end up impacting the self-esteem of the victim. And any significant ongoing impact of this nature will eventually have a negative impact on the victim’s mental health.

I firmly believe that it is extremely important for parents to try and maintain an open communications line with their children, so the children can feel free to share any negative experiences they might have had on-line. This can go a long way in avoiding major negative impact on the children’s mental health.

 

Apr 16, 2020

We are still in the middle of this horrible pandemic. Data does indicate that we are flattening the curve a bit in some parts of our country, but it still does not look good yet for us to open up things to everyone. It is hard to predict how long it will be before things get back to normal, but it seems clear that it will likely not go back to the way things used to be before the pandemic started until we have a vaccine available for everyone, which could be another 12 to 18 months away.

In the meantime most states will follow a step by step approach in trying to open up things for business. I totally agree with all the state governors that they need to be extremely careful as to how to open up their state businesses in a step by step approach. It is very important to make sure we don’t create another difficult cycle of huge numbers of infections and more deaths.

I can certainly understand the dilemma for the governors – more and more people are going for unemployment insurance – the economy is continuing to take a dive; but I agree with them that you can’t really send people to work unless they have been able to establish a somewhat reliable testing process. I am hopeful that the governors will come up with a reasonable step by step plan that will keep all of us safe.

In the meantime, my publisher is continuing the special promotional offer for my books till April 20. She thought it will be a good time for people to read books while they are stuck at home. That’s why she decided to offer the books (ebook version) at no charge. I thought this was a great suggestion. So if anyone is interested in receiving a free ebook version of any of my books, please go to the following:

Bit.ly/2tdyFRD

 

Apr 09, 2020

Yesterday, our governor Tim Walz just extended the “stay at home” order for all Minnesotans till May 4. I really support this extension because I strongly believe that this is the only way to keep ourselves safe from this dangerous virus. During the press conference on Wednesday, the governor shared some very useful information that is also extremely encouraging. He showed data to demonstrate that there are clear signs that the number of cases in Minnesota is following a much flatter curve compared to many of the other states where numbers have gone up much more rapidly. The data shows that if we continue to focus on social distancing and staying home, it is very likely that out health care system will be able to handle the situation when we do reach the inevitable peak. And that should result in minimizing the number of deaths.

I know that all of us are extremely frustrated for not being able to resume our normal lifestyle. But we need to continue to follow the governor’s guidelines because that is only way we can keep ourselves and others as safe as possible.

By the way, my publisher is continuing the special promotional offer for my books till April 20. She thought it will be a good time for people to read books while they are stuck at home. That’s why she decided to offer the books (ebook version) at no charge. I thought this was a great suggestion. So if anyone is interested in receiving a free ebook version of any of my books, please go to the following:

Bit.ly/2tdyFRD

 

Apr 02, 2020

Well, here in Minnesota, we are in our first week of the 2-week ‘stay at home’ order. It appears that most Minnesotans are trying to do their best to stay at home as much as possible and maintain social/physical distance when they are outdoors. Let us hope it is making a significant impact in our fight against the virus. Unfortunately, we would not know the impact until after the 2-week period. At that point, the governor will decide if it would be better to continue the order for another couple of weeks or it would be okay to relax the order. I believe we need to do whatever it takes to slow down the spread of this dangerous virus – if that means we need to stay home for some more time, then that’s what we should do.

Looking around the country it appears that some of the states are still not incorporating a ‘stay at home’ order or a ‘shelter in place’ order. I believe they need to learn from some of the other states (and from countries like China and South Korea) and do this now rather than later. We are clearly learning that it is very important to hunker down early to be able to beat this virus quickly. If you wait until you start seeing more cases, you are giving the virus an upper hand. I sincerely hope all the states implement this approach as soon as possible.

As we all spend most of our time at home, the children might end up spending a lot of time online and communicating with their friends. Parents should keep in mind that this can often lead to more cyber bullying, which can be stressful for the children. There are also other online threats. That’s why it is important for parents and adults to maintain a closer watch on the children’s online activities.

 

Mar 26, 2020

Things continue to remain extremely stressful for all of us in this country, and for that matter, for many many people around the world. In our country the number of cases is still growing at a rapid rate and along with that, unfortunately, the number of deaths is also escalating. We still don’t see any signs of the spread of the virus slowing down in the near future. I heard yesterday from the governor of New York that they are seeing some signs that the social distancing seems to be working. Our governor of Minnesota just ordered “Stay at Home” yesterday for all of us for two weeks, till April 10.

The good news is that data from other countries such as China and South Korea show that we will get over this difficult period. The question is how long will it take for us to get there. We just need to hunker down and live through this period.

In the meantime, my publisher has decided to make a special promotional offer for my books during this difficult time for our country. She thought it will be a good time for people to read books while they are stuck at home. That’s why she decided to offer the books (ebook version) at no charge till April 20. I thought this was a great suggestion. So if anyone is interested in receiving a free ebook version of any of my books, please go to the following:

bit.ly/2tdyFRD

 

Mar 20, 2020

Many individuals are unfortunately out of work at this difficult time. I hope that we will be able to get over this phase soon and everyone will be able to get back to work again. And once they are back at work, I also hope that they will all face positive work environments.

Things are really difficult at this time. For most of us, we have not seen this ever in our lifetimes. No one really knows how long it will be before we can get back to some level of normalcy and once again start doing things that we have all been used to doing, like going to restaurants, going to the movies, going to our gyms, etc. We can only hope that sometime in the near future we will see some positive changes, and things will return to normal.

I really feel concerned about all the Americans who have just lost their jobs recently because of this pandemic. I sincerely hope that financial stimulus from our government will make some difference for the time being. I also hope that everyone will get their jobs back once things start getting back to normal. I just hope and pray that that day is not too far away.

 

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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