AMY SMITH: Your child’s mental health: Support for the return to school (column) | Release


The start of a new school year is stressful, and this year it is even more the case with students who are out of school longer than usual.

The recent pandemic has made people with existing mental disorders worse, and we have seen mental problems start in people who have never had it before.

Children get their emotions from the adults in their lives, so make sure you model the behavior you want to see displayed. Limit their contact to information and make sure they don’t overhear inappropriate conversations with adults. They are always listening, even when you don’t think they are.

Talk openly and honestly with your children about their feelings about going back to school.

As adults we tend to over-analyze things, and often the questions children ask themselves are not the same as the questions we anticipate them to ask themselves. Answer their questions as simply as possible. Make sure they understand good hygiene and the role it plays in transmitting the coronavirus. Reassure them that adults are taking precautions to ensure their safety.

Look for these signs in your children. Are they more withdrawn than usual? Have they lost interest in their normal activities? Are they still in contact with friends? Do they seem sad most of the time?

If you notice any cause for concern, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health care provider.

Alabama school systems will soon offer parents the option of going to school virtually or going back to traditional school learning. When making this decision, there are many factors to consider.

Does your child have a pre-existing medical condition that puts them at high risk if they contract COVID-19? Do you have adequate supervision for them if you and members of your household work outside the home? How did they do academically during the quarantine period? Do you have reliable Internet access and devices on which to carry out your missions? Is there a member of your household in a high risk area?

Whatever decision you make, the decision is personal and should be made in the best interests of your child. Don’t feel guilty and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about what you decide.

If you choose a traditional school route for your child, you must be prepared in the event of a new stop. Make sure you have internet access and get a reliable device if your school doesn’t provide one.

While there are many mental health hotlines, if you or someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide, call 911 for immediate help.

Here are some of the 24 hour helplines that can provide you with support, education and resources:

  • America’s Mental Health Hotline: Text MHA to 741741. Mental Health America is a national organization that provides assistance through this line of text. You will be put in touch with someone who can guide you through a crisis or simply provide you with information.

  • National lifeline for suicide prevention: 1-800-273-8255. Free crisis intervention and emotional support are available, which is useful when you need confidential assistance during a time of emotional distress for you or a loved one. The helpline is open 24/7 and live online chat is also available.

  • Crisis text line: Text CONNECT to 741741. Specialist Crisis Counselors are just one text message away from this free, confidential 24-hour helpline. To further protect your privacy, these messages do not appear on an invoice. phone. The Text Line also provides service and support if you are upset, scared, hurt, frustrated, or in distress.

Amy Smith is a counselor at Pell City High School and a former counselor for the Talladega City school system.

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