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Schools ready to address students’ mental health post pandemic

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 8:01 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Over a year since the pandemic here in Kentucky most restrictions now lifted ... but that aftermath still lingers.

Schools are preparing for the new school year and with that comes new post-pandemic challenges, specifically with children’s mental health.

The CDC recently released a report warning adolescent mental health hospitalizations, due to COVID-19 were on the rise.

Student and family counselor for Bowling Green Independent Schools, Tanner Steelman, says they are expecting to see more students experience anxiety or other mental health concerns, but says they are fully prepared to help.

The district says they’re working with local resources to be even more prepared than before the pandemic.

“We’re collaborating with community partners, law enforcement, local counseling agencies, community mental health, we’re going to collaborate with those guys to make sure that these students that have experienced some significant issues related to the pandemic, we’re going to make sure that their needs are met,” Steelman said.

Love and belonging and social interactions are basic human needs and without those, or having those being limited during the pandemic, an increase in anxiety is likely.

“Typically what we see is that the students that typically cope pretty well, but have been isolated, the smaller things that wouldn’t necessarily provoke an intense anxiety response are causing those situations where they need some counseling to work through those things, so we’re prepared for that,” Steelman said.

Steelman says for parents to encourage open communication with their children and that getting back to normal will do more good than harm.

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