DENVER (KDVR) — Many mental health experts fear the COVID-19 pandemic and major changes to schools are taking a toll on Colorado students’ mental health.
“I definitely think everything we’re going through is quite a challenge,” said Katrina Fernandez with Adams12 Five Star Schools.
It’s a challenge for educators, students and parents.
Colorado state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s son tried to commit suicide in his fourth grade classroom when he was just 9 years old.
“It was a difficult time in our lives because we were constantly trying to figure out, how do we make life work for this kid?” she said.
Her son is now 18 years old and headed to college, but Michaelson Jenet fears other parents will be struggling to make life work for their kids because of COVID-19.
“I think it’s going to manifest itself into a lot of difficult transitions into our new abnormal. I think you’re going to see a lot of retrying to understand social norms. I know it’s taking a mental health toll on our kids. We were not created to be locked in our houses, and I’m a supporter of quarantine, so hear me clearly: I want this COVID to be beaten,” Michaelson Jenet said.
Adams12 Five Star Schools held a virtual presentation for parents Thursday night to help kids deal with the anxiety, loneliness, grief and trauma many students may experience this school year.
Many mental health experts agree the most important thing parents should do during this school year is to constantly check in with their children to see how they’re doing.
“Absolutely talk, talk, talk, talk. You cannot communicate too much,” said Michaelson Jenet.
Another important tip: be patient.
“Everybody’s got to give a little breathing room. We’re going to figure this out. It’s going to be hard, but we can do it,” Michaelson Jenet said.