Mental-health professional discusses added pressures for teens in remote learning

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 11:46 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For many high school students, learning from home during a pandemic comes with its own challenges as academic pressures are coupled with the added resposnibilites of caring for younger relatives during school days.

It’s challenging times for teens like Wichita high school student, Hailey Reef. Learning from home since March, a move to remote learning for elementary-school students in Wichita means that Reef is now also responsible for caring for her younger cousins.

“I’m scared that I’m not going to be able to get my credits and be able to graduate on time, and I think it’s been a really, really trying year for everybody,” Reef said.

At Therapeutic Solutions, Therapist Angie McDaniel is hearing similar messages from her teen clients,

“A lot of my teens are feeling really nervous and really scared because they’re worried they’re going to fall behind,” she said.

It’s a fear that intensifies with some teens.

“If you are already struggling with ADHD or anxiety or anything that makes learning a challenge for you, putting it into a remote environment can make that even more challenging,” McDaniel said.

So, what does this do to a teen’s state of mind?

“They’re more disconnected,” McDaniel said. “They appear more bored. They also appear more moody. Sometimes they’re looking like they’re more withdrawn, and they’re more isolated. They’re also maybe becoming a little more fatigued,” McDaniel said.

Helping your teen starts with managing your own stress and anxiety, she said.

“If you can manage that within yourself, then you can create a space where your kids might be able to do the same,” McDaniel said.

Tips to help teens during these challenging times include checking in with them, sticking to a schedule, setting expectations and achievable goals, creating intentional family time together, and building and valuing support systems.

“It’s like this right now, but it’s not going to be like that forever, and that’s the message that parents can really be reinforcing with kids too,” McDaniel said.

If you’re concerned about your teen’s mental health, including any indication of self-harm, or if you are struggling with depression, Resources you can reach by phone include COMCARE (24-hour hotline): 316-660-7500, Prairie View Crisis Center: 1-800-362-0180 and the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas: 316-652-2590.

You can find information on more resources in the links below.

American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting website

National Alliance on Mental Illness

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