Student mental health remains a priority as pandemic lingers

Student mental health remains a priority as pandemic lingers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Whether you call it virtual, digital or non-traditional, one aspect of learning remotely in the middle of a pandemic is constant. It can be stressful.

JCPS Counseling Support Specialist Michelle Sircy said some students in the district are experiencing high levels of chronic stress and loneliness. She said their peers across the country are seeing that, too.

Fear and anxiety are still present for many, even as positive developments about the fight against COVID-19 arise.

“Our increased level of supports will have to continue,” Sircy said. “(Counselors) will have to shift and pivot as we see the climate change from going into an area of isolation to where we’re trying to transition back to some sense of normalcy.”

Sircy said school counselors are meeting with virtual classrooms, small groups and individuals.

National crisis support lines and local partnerships are being used to ensure students get the help they need as well.

JCPS recently launched a care line of its own, staffed by retired counselors, on school days Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“It gives families the opportunity to call in, talk to a school counselor, get those counseling supports that they may need after your traditional school hours,” Sircy said.

Sircy suggests limiting time on social media, spending time outdoors, finding activities to do with others safely as tips to manage mental health. She added that talking to children, asking direct questions, is the best way to understand how they’re feeling.

“We have raised a generation of young adults that are much more comfortable talking about their mental health,” Sircy said. “They understand the value and importance of mental health. So, if you are a parent and you are concerned about your child, have those tough conversations.”

Mental health experts say the pandemic may have a long-term impact on some students.

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