Office of Children’s Mental Health Focuses on Responding to COVID Changes at School
FROM THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES & THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
Office of Children’s Mental Health Director Linda Hall today announces the publication of a new fact sheet, Responding to COVID Changes at School, and details what our communities, schools, parents, and policymakers can do to make a difference.
- Some students returning to in-person learning may be anxious about getting back into a routine and about what to expect in an altered classroom environment.
- Extra support to ensure positive emotional well-being for all students will be critical for successful school outcomes.
- Children in rural areas, low-income families, Hispanic families, and children with special needs have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. All children already struggling with a mental health or family-related issue are also finding the pandemic especially challenging.
- College students are reporting increased depressive symptoms, which are negatively affecting their academic performance.
- Insurance companies report a 100% increase in the percentage of self-harm, substance use, and mental health claims for teens in 2020 as compared to 2019.
- Wisconsin is one of the top 5 states for having the most insurance claims submitted for intentional self-harm injuries during the pandemic.
What We Can Do
- Parents can talk to their children about what to expect as they return to school and for tips on having that discussion, watch this short video Parenting during the Pandemic: Managing Stress and Anxiety.
- Parents who think their child may need mental health treatment can view our OCMH guide on how to access children’s mental health services.
- Schools can foster a sense of belonging and create space, especially for students of color and those with special needs, to reflect on the effects of the pandemic.
- Communities can support food pantries and affordable housing options, because not having enough food or stable housing are serious stressors on low-income families.
- Policymakers can support expansion of school mental health funding for school psychologists, counselors, and nurses and an increase in funding for school mental health collaboration grants to help schools connect students to mental health services. In addition, increase the Earned Income Tax Credit which has been demonstrated to reduce children’s behavioral health challenges.