Prioritizing students' mental health as they head back to school

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Posted at 1:52 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 14:54:45-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — As students and teachers head back to class, the U.S. Department of Education is trying to make the transition a smooth one by outlining a "Return to School Roadmap.”

The plan provides guidance in three key areas: Prioritizing health and safety, academic achievement and supporting social, emotional, and mental health for students.

Before the pandemic, mental health experts say social media use was influencing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in kids.

Licensed Professional Counselor Tessa Stuckey says as teens get back to school this fall, it's an important time for parents and teachers to pay attention to the way their child is feeling.

This can be things like feeling so overwhelmed or anxious, which can lead to assignments not getting done and turning to their phone to cope in uncomfortable situations.

Stuckey says to combat this, parents and teachers should help children see the connections they can make outside of social media and teach them how to handle problems, like bullying without turning to their phone.

“What I always ask my clients and anyone really is what, what do you like to do for fun. And what do you like to do that's relaxing and list at least three things for each of those questions and they don't include a screen. And that's a really great place to start,” said Stuckey.

The "Return to School Roadmap” also lays out strategies on how to implement the CDC's updated mask recommendation for schools. Click here to read more about the plan.