US schools are struggling to meet rising mental health needs
Ask most teachers or principals in the US about the mental health of their students this year, and they will tell you stories of how much worse things are than normal: More fights in the hallway. Students unable to focus in class. Depression and sadness.
The Washingtojn Post cited a new US government data that helps quantify just how much worse the mental health of American students has become.
A survey released Tuesday documents the toll the pandemic has taken on students’ mental health, with 7 in 10 public schools seeing a rise in the number of children seeking services.
Even more, 76 percent, said faculty and staff members have expressed concerns about depression, anxiety and trauma in students since the start of the pandemic.
Yet only about half of all schools said they were able to effectively provide needed services.
The results come as an enormously stressful school year draws to a close. They add to the evidence that the pandemic is leaving this generation of students with significant mental health challenges.
Anecdotally, teachers report that students’ emotional growth was stunted during months or longer of remote schooling, and that many returned to the classroom without coping skills that would be typical for their ages.
“The pandemic has taken a clear and significant toll on students’ mental health,” said Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which conducted the survey.
The survey was conducted in April, before last week’s devastating massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
In many cases the pandemic brought to the surface long-standing mental health struggles, said Derrick Lawson, Principal of Indio High School in Southern California.
He likened it to what appears to be a calm pool of water. “If you drain the water, all of a sudden, you find all kinds of stuff.”