Some things

​to think about


Remember the thrill of putting the kids back on the bus after their long summer vacation and then going home to listen to … SILENCE? The good old days of 2019, when the most stressful part of going back to school was sourcing the unruled notebook paper on the school supplies list?

Like pretty much everything else, COVID-19 took the thrill and carefree joy out of back to school and replaced it with a mountain of stress, worry, uncertainty, and anxiety. The 2021 back to school season makes the stress we had in the pre-pandemic days seem like recess. Schools in California are set to return to in-person classes next month, just as the Delta variant has started teaching us a lesson. As the buses start to roll out and collect our innocent little kids, many of whom are too young for vaccinations, how are we supposed to balance our natural concern and stress with the importance of putting knowledge in those spongy minds?

We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19, but so many questions remain.

  • What will the classroom look like?
  • Will everyone wear a mask?
  • How good are these kids at catching their coughs and washing their hands?
  • What if my child isn’t vaccinated yet?
  • Shouldn’t we just continue online for a little while longer?

All of these are valid questions and concerns. Though there is a great deal of anxiety around back to school and COVID-19, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Namely, get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.

But what about our elementary-aged kiddos? What about our preschoolers? As of now, no COVID vaccines have been approved for this age group, and they’re the ones who need a lot of care, guidance, and gentle reminders to practice hygiene when it’s just a regular old “cold season.”

Schools are working hard to come up with solutions to keep our kids and their employees safe, but this is a new curriculum and we’re not sure what the real test is going to be yet. As parents, friends, employees, and healthcare professionals, we’re in this with you, wondering how this is going to work and how we are supposed to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy – physically AND mentally.

So here are a few things to remember as we navigate back to school season.

Teachers Are Smart
In creating a plan to reopen schools, California has done its homework. A lot of really intelligent people, many of whom have school-aged children, have come to the table to provide insight and contribute to the plan. The CDC, the California Department of Public Health, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, teachers, child care providers, superintendents, educators, parents, and students weighed in to provide reopening guidance that addresses worries across the spectrum.
Learning Is Important
Thanks to scientific research about COVID-19 and the development of vaccines, infection rates are down. We have learned a lot about testing, treating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the past 18 months, and that knowledge is going to better prepare us as we head back to school or work. We’ve learned that masks and social distancing not only provided protection from COVID-19, but also from other nasty bugs like the flu. We’ve learned that it’s more important to stay home when you’re feeling sick than to force yourself to go in to work. There is no doubt that we’ve got a lot of learning still to do, but we have knowledge, and knowledge gives us at least some power to protect ourselves.
Kids Need To Go To School
Research has shown that the social isolation of quarantine and anxiety of the pandemic has increased depression and anxiety among children around the world, particularly in middle and high schoolers.

For young people, missing significant life events and rites of passage, whether it’s birthday parties or prom, takes a psychological toll,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente

“For young people, missing significant life events and rites of passage, whether it’s birthday parties or prom, takes a psychological toll,” said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente. “Though we won’t entirely realize the mental health effects of COVID-19 for years to come, we know that kids have been having worrisome mood disturbances that come from quarantine-related isolation. They need their friends back.”

And they need their teachers back. If you’ve been a “home educator” for the past 18 months, you have probably (and understandably) let Fortnight, TikTok, or Roblox be a substitute teacher at least a few times. In-person learning is infinitely better for a child’s brain development than the most stimulating TikTok ever created.

COVID-19 is declining. But mental health issues are on the rise.

Even with the Delta variant setback, we have made huge strides in fighting COVID-19. But it’s possible that our next pandemic will be one of mental health proportions. A study at the University of Oxford found that one in three people infected with COVID experienced some type of mental health issue within six months of infection. For those who have been diligently resisting exposure, the isolation, fear, fatigue, stress, and anxiety have also threatened mental wellness.
So, How Do You Feel?

Almost everyone is experiencing a little burnout these days, and back-to-school is just the point on the pencil. The best protection you have against COVID-19 is a vaccination, a mask, and social distancing, but the best protection you have against COVID-19 triggered mental health issues is early intervention.

“The sooner a person gets help for psychiatric symptoms, the sooner they can get better,” said Alicia Bulin, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at bonmente. “The most common mental health complaints – anxiety and depression – can be the most crippling to your day-to-day life, and those are the ones on the rise as a direct result of the pandemic. If you’re not feeling like yourself, there is help.”
To make getting help as easy as possible, bonmente offers access to excellent care that is literally at your fingertips thanks to our innovative telepsychiatry interface. Schedule an appointment with our mental health providers today.

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