Supporting Students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing

Supporting a student’s mental health is oftentimes just as important as providing for their physical wellbeing. Though students’ wellbeing has been important in education, the COVID-19 Pandemic has only worsened an already existing mental health crisis which has been negatively affecting young adults. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought many challenges for students in all schooling levels including changes in their routines, breaks in continuity of learning, missed life events, and loss of security and safety. Additionally, the families of students are facing many challenges, including housing and job insecurity. More than 140,000 children in the United States have experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver as a result of the pandemic.

Though many schools are back in person, students are still facing issues including lack of socialization, isolation, loss of instructional time, and anxiety. Schools are still having to quarantine students and faculty when there may be a COVID-19 outbreak among students and staff. Schools throughout Ohio have seen an increase in mental health emergencies within their student populations. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that the percentage of 12- to 17-year-olds who reported a past-year major depressive episode doubled over the past 10 years. Additionally, Research from the CDC has shown that between 2019 and 2020, the proportion of mental health-related visits to the emergency department for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 years increased by approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.

In response to these increased mental health emergencies, many schools have begun to provide additional services for children, including adding access to more counseling staff within schools. You should contact your school’s administration to be put in touch with available in-school counseling resources.

The Ohio Department of Education, along with the Ohio School Safety Center have many resources for student’s mental health and wellbeing. In order to provide support, parents and teachers must pay attention to their student’s mental health. Older children may show signs of distress through changes in behavior and moods, loss of interest in activities, loss of interest in school work, or increase in risky or reckless behaviors. If you have concerns about your child’s mental health, please utilize the resources below.

Ohio School Safety Center: Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

School and Community Continuum of Services: Statewide Mental Health Resources

Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation

Ohio Department of Education: Mental Health Resources

National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice: Mental Health Awareness Info

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