Nation’s skeletal school mental health network will be severely tested
From loneliness and anxiety to severe or suicidal depression, the coronavirus’ mental health impact on youth has surged into its own epidemic, swelling the number of children’s visits to emergency rooms for mental health problems. National screenings show that children, adolescents and teens have struggled emotionally during the pandemic more than any other age group. More than one-third of teen girls and one-fifth of teen boys have new or worsening anxiety, according to a January poll by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan.
But as waves of young people return to school, the system of mental health supports that await them remains patchy and overburdened.
As of 2018, each of the 37,000 school psychologists in the U.S. was responsible for an average 1,200 students, nearly double the recommended number. In some school districts, one psychologist is responsible for as many as 3,000 students, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
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