After an unsettling end to the 2020 spring semester, students and families are facing many of the same uncertainties as fall classes get underway. As routines continue to be disrupted and life milestones are altered, youth are more likely to be affected by mental health issues and temptations to cope through substance use.
Rosecrance staff have seen increased trauma-related stressor disorders as spring sports seasons ended prematurely and fall activities have been postponed, proms and homecomings were cancelled, and youth weren’t allowed to hang out with friends like they wanted.
In addition to losing valued social outlets, students who have shifted to online learning may no longer have some of the institutional supports they are used to, such as easy access to special education programs or routine check-ins with school counselors.
“Both of my kids were high school seniors last year, and it was difficult for them,” said Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Administrator Denita Lynde. “Youth like them are trying to figure out how to cope and handle the loss of rites of passage, the loss of promising sports seasons, and other normal events.”
To navigate the continued stress, Rosecrance offers a few tips to help families work through the new schoolyear.
- Watch for any behavior change, mood swings, altered sleep or eating patterns, or self-harm.
- Children and adults should have set routines to provide a sense of normalcy.
- Without becoming a helicopter parent, monitor children’s web and social media use for inappropriate content or conversations.
- Have open, honest conversations about current events and life stress as a family. If the adults are honest about their struggles, it will be easier for children to share their feelings.
- If comfortable, don’t be afraid to initiate conversations about stress and challenges of these days with peers.
- Develop healthy ways to relax, such as journaling, exercising, or spending time in nature.
- Like the passing periods at school, take occasional five-minute breaks from virtual learning to relax.
- If you don’t feel comfortable discussing something with your family, reach out to a school counselor or social worker.
- Find new ways to stay connected. If you’re tired of video chat apps, it’s OK to enjoy socially distanced gatherings that meet health officials’ recommendations.
Rosecrance is here for anyone who needs a helping hand during these challenging times. We encourage people to utilize any of these offerings:
- Free classes for families or alcohol and cannabis diversion
- Virtual assessments, counseling, Parent Café, webinars, and other programs in Rosecrance’s virtual hub.
- Community-based therapeutic services and short-term intensive services are available for socially distanced home visits for those not comfortable coming to a treatment site.
Please contact us, even if you’re unsure you or a loved one needs assistance. Caring staff will be happy to listen to your concerns and direct you to the right resources. Rosecrance also can assist even if you have lost your employer insurance because of COVID-19. Please call us at 888.928.5278 or visit https://rosecrance.org.