Associated Press report “Mental health worries schools” published in the Mirror’s 20-21 August edition, deserved to be categorized as essential reading for anyone with a child or children enrolled in primary or secondary education.
Whether or not a parent agrees with the premise that schools should delve into student mental health, parents should be aware of the opinions and concerns on both sides of the issue and be open-minded to the fact that there are valid arguments. . on both sides of the debate.
This is a difficult issue that is not likely to go away anytime soon.
Circumstances and challenges exist at this time that were never anticipated in the lifetime of most current school parents, and it is difficult for many parents now to deal with them. “Thank you” partly because of the unstable political atmosphere that has not spared education and student learning.
Parents must be attuned to their children’s emotional needs and concerns; they know their children better than anyone else.
At the same time, parents must accept the possibility that the children they know at home may differ significantly from how those children function outside the home.
There are ongoing consequences from the pandemic, and today’s school students must deal with the fears, anxieties, and insecurities caused by the knowledge of violence occurring in or around schools in various areas across the United States.
Regardless of parents’ political beliefs, affiliations, or other personal beliefs, they need to understand that in what should be happy, exciting—though educationally challenging—times, many children are experiencing feelings that need to be heard and addressed in the school environment because they are reluctant to discuss those feelings at home.
It is not demeaning for parents to accept that they do not have all the answers about their children’s anxieties and fears, just as schools must accept that they too have limitations about the help that some children require.
However, parents who work together with schools, rather than dividing them through verbal attacks and accusations, increase the chances of success in meeting at least some, if not most, of their children’s needs.
The AP article noted that student mental health reached crisis levels last year, stemming from the damaging effects of isolation during the pandemic, stretching into 2020 — a time of distance learning.
But the harmful effects of the pandemic remain planted within school systems; The challenge for school districts is to find solutions based on their circumstances.
“The pressure on schools to find solutions has never been greater,” says the AP article. “Districts across the country are using federal pandemic money to hire more mental health specialists, rolling out new coping tools and expanding curriculum that prioritizes emotional health.” but all of this may not be enough if many school systems continue to have difficulty hiring enough counselors.
“The pandemic magnified the fragility of mental health among young Americans, who had experienced an increase in depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts for years.” the article noted. Under the title of the article was the message “Crisis among the country’s youth falling in circles to address.”
Undoubtedly, the level of success will also depend on a positive partnership between districts and students’ homes.