The New Normal: Tips for parents to help students have a successful school year

News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Cara McNulty and Dr. Liz Matheis.

News 12 Staff

Sep 19, 2022, 2:01 PM

Updated 662 days ago

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Children are back in class, and families are adjusting to new schedules and a lot of changes.
From kindergarten through college, educators are trying to convey a sense of normalcy.
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Cara McNulty, president of behavioral health and mental well-being at CVS Health, and Dr. Liz Matheis, licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist.
What are some tips for parents trying to get the routine right and help kids have a successful school year?
Educators report feeling concerned about adolescents' mental health, significantly more than parents. When asked if a child has ever approached them about a mental or emotional concern, more educators said yes compared to parents. However, almost half of parents say they initiate conversations about mental health with their child, compared to a quarter of educators.
Educators cited family dynamics and relationships, self-esteem, bullying/social dynamics and social media usage as the top negative impacts on children's mental health.
Parents most often cited academic pressure, self-esteem, pandemic-related stress and bullying/social dynamics as having negative impacts on their children's mental health. Most educators cited issues stemming from gender, race and sexuality as a factor negatively impacting adolescent mental health, compared to just 25% of parents.
Asking questions is the best way to understand how students are doing. But for older students, especially, if you're only asking about the good things, you may not get the full picture.

Educators and parents agree that more affordable mental health care is the most beneficial resource for adolescent mental health.
Things like changes in sleep, increased irritability, increased weight gain or changes in appetite can signal to clinicians that there may be an underlying issue. But for incoming college students, a lot of those things can naturally happen, with students going away from home for the first time.
In the last two months of a new suicide hotline - 988 - numbers have nearly doubled in calls. Health and Human Services says 45% more calls compared to this time last year.


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