Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityExpert explains how parents can help their child with learning loss anxiety | WJLA
Close Alert

Expert explains how parents can help their child with learning loss anxiety

Classroom photo. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)
Classroom photo. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

Psychiatrists say learning loss isn’t just impacting test scores but also the mental health of students.

There’s been a lot of excitement about the 2022-23 school year, with a more normal schedule and social activities back compared to during the pandemic. But experts say, they’re seeing a lot of mental health challenges because of learning loss. It’s been extremely difficult for students who are struggling academically.

Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist Dr. Asha Patton Smith says she’s hearing a lot of things like, “I feeling overwhelmed,” “I feel like I can’t keep up,” or “I’m struggling every day and I don’t know why.”

SEE ALSO | New reaction as Gov. Youngkin tells Va. schools to 'get moving' on COVID relief spending

There are already varying levels of academic performance in the classroom, then virtual learning threw in another curveball.

Patton Smith says many kids are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated because they’re not performing. That has to do with both learning loss and living in this stressful time where families as a whole have been struggling too.

“There’s also challenges with staffing, especially in schools,” said Dr. Patton Smith. “So I do hear kids saying that they have long-term subs or their teacher just left and they don’t know who’s coming to teach them the next week. And so that can also, especially with the younger kids, called increased academic stress.”

Patton Smith says anxiety and depression can look different in everyone because each person is different. Psychiatrists recommend making sure you keep lines of communication open by talking to your child and letting them know they can come to talk to you. Check-in on them throughout the day asking how things are, and how school was, to get a sense of what’s happening. Reassure your child that they can talk to you if something is wrong. The goal is not to eliminate stress, but to communicate concerns and learn coping mechanisms and provide support.

“Stress in general cannot be avoided,” explained Patton Smith. “So if someone is stressed, that is not necessarily a bad thing. What we're looking at is the time that someone is stressed. So when we're dealing with anxiety, we're dealing with a pervasive pattern of stress, or we're dealing with the fact that they're not able to function either at school or at home or if they have jobs or socially.”

Some signs to look out for include:

  • Social isolation
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in sleep
  • Increased irritability

Red flags include making comments like:

  • It doesn’t mater anymore
  • I can’t keep up so why bother
  • I just want to end it all
Comment bubble

If any of this happens, you’ll want to reach out to your provider.

Loading ...