Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) — Wausau Schools reports that the quality of students’ mental health has been on a slow decline over the past few years.
But the past year spent living in a pandemic might have made things worse.
That’s why the district is holding mental health awareness sessions for parents to help them address issues their children might be facing.
“We really wanted to inform parents on mental health concerns that we see in students,” said Andy Grimm, coordinator of school counseling at the district.
Grimm says the switch to online learning definitely took a toll on students, and left teachers powerless to help.
“We were challenged because we did not have communication with students so if they had concerns and/or needs at home, we weren’t able to hear about it,” he said.
Trena Loomans, director of clinical operations at The Caring Tree, says the relative isolation we’ve been living in can lead to things like anxiety and depression in students.
“It requires a whole different set of learning and pacing for kids and parental involvement that is very different than it was before,” she said.
Loomans says things like journaling and spending time with family can help improve well being.
“We advise that people get some fresh air, go outside, enjoy nature with their families. That’s another way to kind of build that structure back up,” she said.
As things begin to improve with the pandemic, experts say they expect student mental health to improve as well.
The next info session will be held Thursday, March 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Wausau East High School auditorium. In person attendance is limited to parents from Wausau East, EEA Learning Academy, and Horace Mann Middle School.