RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -As we closed down to slow the spread of the COVID virus, schools closed, students were sent home and families adjusted to the new normal–distance learning.
There was worry about kids falling behind in their studies, but there was also regret and disappointment that they would also miss out on everything else related to school–friends, after-school activities, graduations and proms.
It turns out that disappointment was more than justified.
The students who returned to school are facing more than the need to catch up on their education. Many have been damaged by their time away from their classmates and some are struggling with serious issues.
“A lot of higher levels of depression anxieties, suicidal ideation,” says Ashlee Sampson, Director of Outpatient Services at Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital.. Unfortunately, coping skills can sometimes look like self-harm and substance use. “
There’s been a marked increase of young people needing the kind of help available at the hospital.
“We have a lot of kiddoes that sometimes don’t know how to communicate what they are feeling,” says Sampson. So that’s what our programs are here for.”
Some may find recovery learning coping skills in a residential program, Sampson says others quickly graduate to out-patient status working with therapists.
“To kind of figure out what’s going on, what pieces are not being talked about because you know kiddoes won’t talk about everything. So it’s just kind of figuring out what pieces of the puzzle are they not telling us in order to get them the right services.”
It’s primarily adolescents aged 10 to 17, but some even younger are struggling. girls. boys, the normally quiet and withdrawn to the star student or athlete. Sampson says parents should watch for changes and, if there’s a concern, seek help.
“For parents, i always say if you’ve got a gut reaction that something’s wrong and I can’t figure this out, that’s when you call in the troops. That’s when you ask for help. because sometimes when we’re interacting with our kiddoes we have no idea that they were struggling with that until they told us.”
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