Mental health experts fear there will be a rise in depression if students continue remote learning

With more children being forced to learn virtually from home in the upcoming new school year, there are serious concerns that some may begin to suffer from depression.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2020, 2:16 AM

Updated 1,340 days ago

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With more children being forced to learn virtually from home in the upcoming new school year, there are serious concerns that some may begin to suffer from depression.
Many school districts are opting for a fully-remote learning experience, which means that students won’t have the social aspect of learning with their friends and peers.
“Between the pandemic and the remote learning, that stress is intensified,” says Dr. Frank Ghinassi, president of Rutgers University Behavioral Health.
Ghinassi says that he is in support of a new push for mental health screenings in school. But he questions how effective it could be.
“Once the screening happens, is there adequate access to mental health services in that community? The answer is often not enough,” he says.
There is a bill in the state Legislature to mandate students in grades 7-12 be screened for depression. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Troy Singleton, who says in a statement, “It would allow us to identify the symptoms of depression in our students before it’s too late or it turns into a lifelong cycle.”
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people age 10-24. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that teen depression has led to a 70% increase in suicides.
Emotional health is one of the reasons that parents in Kinnelon rallied on Wednesday to have their children go back to school.
“[My second-grade son] would just completely shut down. He would be on a Zoom with his head in his hands,” said parent Regan Scicutella. “It’s just not what they want.”
The parents said that in-person lessons are beneficial for their children.
“We want them back in the building,” said parent Jean Donaldson. “As parents, we think we have the right to assume that risk for them.”
Ghinassi says that he is most concerned for children with pre-existing conditions and those living in poverty. If parents see behavioral changes with their children, they should seek help.
Ghinassi also says that when approaching their children, parents should ask how they can be of help, instead of asking if something is wrong.


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