Updated: Sep 12
Supporting Children's Mental Health as they go back to School
by Dr. John Lee (National Medical Director at MIND 24-7)
The back-to-school season is already here! Every year as students and teachers return to class, we at MIND 24-7 see an increase in youth and adults seeking mental health services due to the spiking anxiety associated with school and socialization.
This effect has only been exacerbated since the Covid-19 pandemic and the years of uncertainty and isolation it caused. Due to those factors, the demand for mental health services among children and adults has never been higher as both parents and children deal with the stress of returning to school.
Signs of anxiety to look out for in students are:
excessive worry and/or fear
fatigue, restlessness, trouble sleeping
changes in appetite
physical symptoms (stomachaches and headaches)
If your child is experiencing one or several of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to them about their emotional well-being or seek professional help.
For parents trying to help manage the stress of returning to school, it’s important to pay attention to your own emotional state, kids will pick up on whether you are stressed or anxious and will watch and imitate how you handle it.
The best thing you can do is to act as a role model and show children what to do when they are anxious by engaging them in deeper conversations focused conversations and showing them healthy coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills. Additionally, structure, time with friends, validations, and encouragement can all work to help reduce anxiety.
Ways a parent can support a student’s mental health:
communication - talk to your child
calming strategies like singing, positive thinking, and deep breaths
be their emotional rock
be the model – show them how to do it
"As our kids are returning to school there will be excitement and anxiety for both the parents and children. It’s important to make sure we are talking to our kids and getting to know how they are feeling about the changes ahead of them," explains Psychiatrist Dr. John Lee, National Medical Director here at MIND 24-7. "Continued communication with the child and teachers to recognize any changes sooner than later. Early recognition will be a key component to successful treatment."
MIND 24-7 has three facilities in Arizona dedicated to making mental health care available to everyone right when they need it. Open 24 hours a day, MIND 24-7 offers on-the-spot treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns, including anxiety and depression. If you or a loved one is struggling, text or call 844-646-3247, or stop into one of our locations across the Valley, no appointment is necessary.
About the Author
Dr. John Lee
Psychiatrist & National Medical Director at MIND 24-7 LinkedIn Profile
Dr. John Lee is double board-certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and has a passion for serving the underserved. He currently serves as the National Medical Director for MIND 24-7 a rapidly-growing provider of walk-in urgent mental health care. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, he proceeded to obtain his PharmaD with high-honors from the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Lee then earned his DO from Midwestern University where he was a 4-year National Health Service Corps Scholar (NHSC) followed by a Psychiatry Residency at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center locally here in Phoenix. Prior to joining MIND 24-7 as Chief Medical Director, Dr. Lee regularly saw patients at most of the major psychiatric hospitals and treatment centers in Arizona in addition to individuals in maximum security, on death row, and within immigration detention centers.
About the MIND 24-7
MIND 24-7 is fundamentally changing the landscape of accessible behavioral health by offering walk-in urgent mental health and substance abuse services such as Psych Express Care, Psych Crisis Care, and Psych Progressions. MIND 24-7 fills the gap for those seeking help by being available right when they need it – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Using innovations in value-based care models to improve and expand access to care, MIND 24-7 not only enhances quality patient care, but reduces pressure on the system, reducing costly emergency room visits, in-patient treatment, and readmissions for crisis care. To learn more, go to www.MIND24-7.com.