MHA encouraging parents to talk with kids about pandemic before new school year


(WWLP) – Mental health experts are asking parents to have a mental check-in with their kids as they prepare for another covid school year.

According to experts, the new school year can already cause anxiety and the pandemic can heighten that, so it’s important to talk with your kids. Twelve-year-old Avori Rosa, like so many other kids her age, is getting ready to start the new school year.

“Yeah I am excited,” said Avori who is starting school in Springfield on August 30. “I feel good about it.”

Avori will join countless students attending another school year amid the coronavirus pandemic. That aside, her mother, Olivia tells us she’s happy her daughter can socialize again.

“I am a little nervous but I think the social part will help her out,” said Olivia Poellnitz. “Last year she was just not really socially active so this year will help her a little bit more with the friends.”

Mental health experts say the pandemic can have some kids feeling uncertain even anxious about heading back to the classroom and having conversations with your kids can help check in on their mental health.

Mental Health Association

“Being able to ask them, what have you heard? What is your understanding? And that provides the opportunity to start from a place of providing ways to support their anxiety or the fears that they are having,” said Sara Kendall, vice president of Clinical Operations at Massachusetts Health Association in Springfield.

Kendall says that nervousness is natural with a new school year but parents should take note of high-stress levels or physical changes.

“They are experiencing their fears by how they are feeling physically,” said Kendall. “So maybe an upset tummy, having difficulty sleeping at night, and that might be an indication that something is going on, something that is wrong.”

If talking with your kids isn’t lessening the anxiety Kendall says the next step is to visit your pediatrician or a professional mental health counselor.

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