Families like yours are gearing up for the start of another school year. Mental health experts are expecting a surge in kids and teens needing mental health support.
The beginning of any school year has long been a tough time for kids. But the pressures of the past two years, shouldering adult responsibilities and experiencing social isolation and loneliness have worsened these issues. Children are faced with:
- Changing COVID-19 rules
- Concerns about personal and family health
- Social anxiety
- Academic anxiety
- Coping with loss or grief
- Anxiety about leaving family or caregivers
Experts expect children and their parents to reach out for support more than ever before.
The pandemic’s impact on the mental health of young children and teens
From March 2020 to October 2020, mental health-related ER visits for children aged 5 to 11 went up by 24%. During that same time, children aged 12-17 saw an increase of 31%.1 During the pandemic, many children lost primary caregivers. More teens are at risk for suicide than they were before the pandemic.2
Younger children are anxious about leaving their homes or getting sick. Older kids are more concerned about social situations and academics. The pandemic has put pressure on these young populations like never before. They’ve been asked to constantly adapt and deal with uncertainty for more than two full years now.
Mental health struggles like anxiety, depression and trauma-related issues can often come to the surface when school begins.
How to help our children
The good news is that as a society, we know how we can help our children. Placing child therapists in schools has been shown to have a positive impact on teen mental health. Access to school therapists has shown the potential to help children improve grades and decrease the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Of course, not every school or school district will have the budget to hire a school therapist. Many educators have reached out to the community to initiate mental health training for their staff. Others have provided helpful resources to families in need. But some children and their families won’t have access to these valuable resources. In addition, many teens prefer to see private therapists outside of a school setting so they can open up freely and without worry about privacy or stigma. Either way, parents and educators who are able to identify children who need help—and connect them with the best resources—will be the key to a healthy and happy school year.
As you prepare for another school year to start, make an appointment with a therapist or psychiatrist to discuss your family’s mental health needs during this difficult time.
With Teladoc, you can arrange for online therapy with a qualified adolescent therapist to help your teen cope and grow—from anywhere, no matter what your teen is facing. Our virtual therapists can help your teen with anxiety, stress, depression, bullying, poor self-esteem and more. Book a teen Mental Health visit by adding your teen as a dependent on your account.
Published June 27, 2022