From the loss of major milestones to grieving for relatives with COVID-19, the pandemic has taken a toll on young people. Now, educators and parents are concerned about the hit to students’ mental health, and red flags that are more difficult to spot during the age of Zoom classes.
More than 10 months into the pandemic, mental health is a simmering crisis for many of the nation’s schoolchildren, partly hidden by isolation but increasingly evident in the distress of parents, the worries of counselors and an early body of research.
Holed up at home, students dwell in the glare of computer screens, missing friends and teachers. Some are failing classes. Some are depressed. Some are part of families reeling with lost jobs, gaps in child care or bills that can’t be paid.
Some students care for, or grieve, relatives with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States.
Mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From March, when the pandemic was declared, to October, the figure was up 31 percent for those 12 to 17 years old and 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 compared with the same period in 2019.