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Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has grown to impact nearly every facet of our lives. Beyond the catastrophic damage it wrought on the health of millions of people across the globe, it disrupted industries, produced shortages, and led to mass layoffs and closures. Despite the number of COVID cases being on the decline, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt in new unexpected ways. In 2021 the need for mental health treatment expanded dramatically and rapidly, leading mental health to become a cause for concern following the pandemic.

In a recent article in NPR, Arthur Evans, the CEO of the American Psychological Association likened the kind of lingering anxiety many people are experiencing to symptoms of trauma. Rather than the single intense incident typically linked with trauma, the pandemic subjected everyone to a sort of prolonged event, where the emotional disturbance was felt over years in opposed to one short burst. Tamar Rodney, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University stressed the importance of monitoring how this mental pressure unfolds, saying, “We need to be paying attention to the warning signs”.

That trauma-like effect extends beyond adults. Mental illness among children and adolescents, which had already been increasing year over year, has been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic. The United States surgeon general issued a warning that the stresses of the last couple of years are culminating in a mental health crisis for adolescents. There’s been a growing number of kids in emergency rooms for reasons related to mental health. Suicide rates have been increasing. The pandemic catalyzed an already volatile situation, making it absolutely imperative to increase the mental health resources available to adolescents.

Psychologist and president of Well Being Trust Benjamin Miller suggested that schools are vital in counteracting the consequences of the pandemic on adolescents’ mental health, declaring in an article in NPR, “We need to have a range of services that are offered to children [through schools]”. In states like California and Illinois, systems have been established to aid the mental health of their students. Some states, however, are crucially underfunded in that department, leaving their students especially vulnerable to issues relating to anxiety and depression.

Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU, Dr. Jennifer Havens, in an interview with NPR, expressed just how critical childhood and adolescence are in the development of a person by indicating that this window is when mental illness most often develops. As such, the US Preventative Services Task Force encouraged regular screening for anxiety and depression in children and teenagers. In that same NPR article Miguelina German, a pediatric psychologist, bolstered the idea that treatment at a young age is important by stating that mental illness left untreated worsens and becomes harder to treat with time.

Ensuring the mental stability of children, while incredibly important, can be tough to manage. Kokomo24/7® helps relieve this burden by addressing the issue in one of the most influential environments in the growth of a child: their school. Through our anonymous reporting and case management features, you can monitor the development of a student, receive tips on student’s issues, and follow up on student’s development. Want to learn more about how Kokomo24/7® can protect the mental well-being of your students? Click the button below to schedule a demo.

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Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/07/1087195915/covid-pandemic-trauma-mentalhealth

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/04/17/1093164270/kids-anxiety-screening-uspstf

https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/draft-recommendation/screening-anxiety-children-adolescents

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/02/16/1080863226/state-by-state-heres-how-well-schools-are-doing-at-supporting-kids-mental-health

http://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/23/health/mental-health-crisis-teens.html?searchResultPosition=2