Stories and Viewpoints
Caring for one Another
By: Jennifer Yates, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
May 17, 2022
The continuing pandemic has increased stress and pressure on many around the world, changing family dynamics like never before. As caregivers head back to work and children return to school and activities outside of the home, the effects of global quarantines and resulting isolation on mental health and well-being are becoming increasingly more prevalent. In an interview with Lara Ramsburg, head of corporate affairs for Viatris and Rocío Galarza, vice president of content design, U.S. social impact, Sesame Workshop, we talk about the needs of families and caregivers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and our ongoing commitment to work with Sesame Workshop and their Caring for Each Other Initiative.
How have the COVID-19 pandemic and global quarantines impacted families around the world, and what work is Viatris doing to support them?
Lara Ramsburg, Head of Corporate Affairs, Viatris, Inc.: As members of the global healthcare community, we’ve seen firsthand the pandemic’s lasting social and emotional effects in all corners of the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health-related emergency department visits in the U.S. rose 24% for children between the ages of 5 and 11 and 31% for those 12 to 17 beginning in April 2020 in comparison to 2019. It was during this time that we stepped into action and initiated our partnership with Sesame Workshop to bring social and emotional resources to families around the world. We saw, and heard virtually, firsthand about the positive impact these resources had in helping children, parents and caregivers navigate extremely tough times
What has Sesame Workshop learned about the changing dynamics of families and their needs following COVID-19 quarantines?
Rocío Galarza, Vice President of Content Design, US Social Impact, Sesame Workshop: The global pandemic has placed strains on the mental health of families in ways that could not have been anticipated. By partnering with Viatris, we have been able to provide broader access to resources that normalize asking for help, help mitigate caregivers’ stress and suggest new ways to talk through big challenges with children.
What resources are available for families and caregivers in this newest phase of the Care with Each Other initiative?
RG: New materials, including five new videos featuring beloved characters like Elmo and Grover, support the social and emotional needs of families and caregivers across generations as they collectively continue to adapt to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These bilingual resources encourage positive conversations between children, caregivers and families about separation anxiety and the effects of isolation and unpredictability; communicating changes and uncertainty; and mitigating parental stress amidst personal loss and economic strains.
What do you hope these new resources will do to help families?
LR: Our work with Sesame Workshop stems from Viatris’ mission of empowering people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life. Through the collaboration between Viatris and Sesame Workshop, these resources will support the social and emotional needs of families across generations as they collectively continue to adapt to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.