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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Monday is the first day of the new school year for students in Duval County.
As kids head back to the classroom parents are encouraged to keep track of their child’s mental health.
Mental health check-ins are a vital part of setting your child up for success this school year, according to clinical social worker Lori Osachy.
“Just keep in mind with kids going back to school that’s a big transition and also after covid and everything last year you want to watch out with kids because they’re not always going to just express their feelings,” Osachy said.
Mental health refers to a child’s emotional, behavioral and mental well-being.
According to the CDC, signs of depression and anxiety can be shown in kids as young as 3 years old but are the highest in children ages 12 to 17.
Osachy says a change of behavior is usually a sign something is wrong.
“If your child is normally talkative and their spending a lot of time in their room or theyre more aggressive with their siblings when they’re normally not. Or if they’re crying a lot or if they’re angry with you,” Osachy said.
This week the CDC updated COVID-19 guidance which now allows students to stay in their classrooms if they’ve been exposed to the virus.
The agency is transitioning away from remote schooling which it claims has been shown to stunt learning and increased mental health problems.
“Just like our bodies are important to take care of we have to take care of our minds,” Osachy said.
Simple steps that can make the biggest difference to students.
Osachy stresses the importance of not stigmatizing mental health and for parents to create a safe space for kids to talk with them.
A simple conversation during a car ride or even going on walks together can be great places to start.