Upcoming school year raises concern for kids mental health following pandemic isolation

By Jaylen Holloway
Published: Aug. 17, 2022
Copyright 2022 WITN. All rights reserved.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -The 2022-2023 school year is around the corner and classrooms in Eastern Carolina hope to be full of young minds eager to learn.

In some ways things will go back to pre-pandemic normalcy, meaning that for first the time some students will be in a classroom setting which raises concerns about mental health.

Integrated Family Services mental health expert, Keith Hamm believes it’s important for parents to help their children know that school is a good thing.

“Going to school for the first time even though they’ve been in school because of the pandemic,” Hamm said. “It is vitally important for parents to make sure that this is a positive thing for their kids. There’s a difference between saying you have to go to school and you get to go to school.”

One negative influence on kids can be social media and Greenville parent Chris Evans says it’s scary.
“It’s a lot that goes on with bullying and different stuff they see on social media. You have to explain to them different things and make sure that you are talking to them because you never know what they’re going through,” Evans said. “You always want them to be positive and have a good day.”

Hamm says schools in the east are working hard to make sure kids feel loved and valued every day.

“We are working with a lot of school systems to make sure that there are plenty of resources for the kids and their mental health as they return to school,” Hamm said. “I believe the schools are preparing, they’re preparing by making themselves aware, and finding resources for the kids.”

The pandemic forced children to be isolated and some fear the emotional impact that remote learning had.

However, for parents like Evans, it’s about constantly instilling positive thoughts.

“Just giving them verbal praise, prompts, and high fives, having fun with them,” Evans said. “They’re kids so you have to be able to enjoy their company and motivate them to get out and do things.

Posted in Community, Mental Health