- Counselor's Corner
How is COVID impacting our kids' mental health?
I came across an article the other day with the title “Mental Health concerns rise as COVID fatigue deepens.” Given the work I do, this title was intriguing to me. The article described the long-term physical and emotional impact COVID will have on our bodies and what some of the symptoms are now. In a typical school year, the weeks after Spring Break to the last day of school can be tough! Both faculty and students can see the finish line in sight, and yet there is still much work left to do, and it must be done with the energy tank almost at empty. I prepare myself for these weeks and the types of conversations I have in my office to help each person use their positive coping skills.
This year is simply different. As we near the end of the school year, I see fatigue setting in, but there is also the added layer of quarantines, masks, debates on vaccines, and speculation of if next school year will be more of the same. The COVID fatigue I see can be physical (headaches, tummy aches, sleepiness, appetite changes, self-harm, lack of effort in schoolwork / missing school) and can be emotional (anxiety, depression, conflict with friends/peers, conflict with family). Awareness of these symptoms is important. It is also good to have a plan in place to finish these last weeks of school:
Communication with your child’s teacher is key. If you are noticing symptoms that are atypical for your child, make sure their teacher or advisor is kept in the loop so your child can be supported at school.
Counselor support is offered to all student and their families (in support of their child). Students who are on campus may schedule time with me via email or by asking their teacher. Our distant learners can schedule via email to be followed by a Zoom link for a virtual meeting.
Less technology time in the evenings and weekends is important. With the nicer weather right now, provide more opportunities for your child to be outside playing in the fresh air (safely, of course!). Physical activity and sunlight can have a positive effect on the body.
Professional intervention may be needed. If you believe your child could use the support of a tutor, academic coach, or a third party therapist/psychiatrist or learning specialist, please reach out to me or your Division Head for referrals.
We are all in this together, and we at St. Mark’s, are so grateful for your trust in us as we finish this school year with your child.
Elise N. Banks, M.S., LPC