Over the course of the pandemic, many parents were concerned about their teen’s mental health. Sports and dances were canceled. Friends couldn’t sit together at lunch, or even see each other at all. Kids were attending school in their kitchen or bedroom, in pajamas. Some weren’t even logging in. It turns out, the CDC has also taken notice of this public mental health crisis. As reported by the Washington Post:
“In December, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued an advisory on protecting youth mental health. ‘The pandemic era’s unfathomable number of deaths, pervasive sense of fear, economic instability, and forced physical distancing from loved ones, friends, and communities have exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced,’ Murthy wrote. ‘It would be a tragedy if we beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow in its place.’
The CDC survey paints a portrait of a generation reeling from the pandemic, grappling with food insecurity, academic struggles, poor health and abuse at home. Nearly 30 percent of the teens surveyed said a parent or other adult in their home lost work during the pandemic, and a quarter struggled with hunger. Two-thirds said they had difficulty with schoolwork.
But the survey also offers hope, finding that teens who feel connected at school report much lower rates of poor health. The finding calls attention to the critical role schools can play in a student’s mental health.”
So it appears there is a bit of silver lining to the storm clouds. We implore all schools to think of how they can foster connection in this critical time. Our kids need it – more than ever.
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