By Catline Jacques, MD
At no other time in history have schools had to face so many challenges. The COVID-9 pandemic required teachers, students, and faculty to quickly pivot and move classes to an online environment during times of great uncertainty.
Despite the work involved to keep education going, students of all ages have still been significantly impacted by the stress of lockdowns. Many students are dealing with mental health challenges as a result.
A recent study looked at 195 students at a large public university in the United States to understand the effects the pandemic has had on their mental health. The researchers found that 71% of the participants were experiencing increased stress and anxiety as well as depressive thoughts.
While many schools have opened back up, many students are still experiencing symptoms of trauma and mental health issues.
What Can Teachers and Faculty Do?
It’s important that teachers and faculty become educated themselves on the indicators of a mental health crisis in their students. What is the best way to recognize those students who may be having issues and need extra support?
All educational institutions should put in place universal screenings to identify those students in need. These screenings may involve brief questionnaires to gauge student emotional concerns.
Schools should also be sure to have enough school-based mental health professionals on staff to provide direct support for at-risk individuals.
What Can Students Do?
Students should recognize their feelings and be open to sharing them with others. Reach out to teachers and staff and get the help you need.
And if you are a student who would like to talk with someone about the stress and anxiety you are feeling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
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