Jacksonville, Fla. – Monday is the first day of the new school year for students in Duval County.
Parents are encouraged to monitor their child’s mental health when children return to class.
Clinical social worker Lori Osachi says a mental health screening is an important part of setting your child up for success this school year.
“Remember that when kids go back to school, it’s a big transition, and also after Covid and last year, you want to keep track of everything with kids, because they’re not always expressive,” Osachi said.
Mental health refers to a child’s emotional, behavioral, and intellectual well-being.
According to the CDCDepression and anxiety symptoms can be seen in children as young as 3 years old, but children between the ages of 12 and 17 years are the highest.
Osachi says that a change in behavior is often a sign that something is wrong.
“If your child is usually talkative and spends a lot of time in their room, or when they are not around, they will be more aggressive with their siblings. Or if they cry a lot or get mad at you, Osachi said.
This week, the CDC updated its Covid-19 guidelines, which now allow students to stay in their classrooms if they have been exposed to the virus.
The agency is moving away from distance learning, which has seen underachievement and mental health problems, he said.
“Just like it’s important to take care of our bodies, we need to take care of our minds,” Osachi said.
Simple steps that can make a big difference for students.
Osachi stressed the importance of not stigmatizing mental health and for parents to create a safe space for children to talk to them.
A simple conversation during a car ride or even a walk together can be a good place to start.
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