Students suffered deep, and unequal, mental health impacts during the pandemic, report finds

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Between 30% and 40% of young people said their mental health deteriorated during the pandemic, according to a sweeping new report on student wellness by the Center on Reinventing Public Education.

Students who are Black, Latino, indigenous or low-income suffered more adverse effects, and the longer a student was learning remotely from home, the more their mental health suffered, according to the report.

“The Covid-19 pandemic upended daily life for every family and school across the United States, but its impacts were not universal. The inequities that cut across classrooms and communities have contributed to broad disparities in the losses, trauma, and isolation that many students and educators have endured,” researchers wrote.

“In addition, the converging social events of 2020–21, including protests for racial justice, a contentious presidential election, and a riot at the Capitol, have challenged young people to make sense of a turbulent era that few adults may yet fully understand.”

Researchers reviewed hundreds of studies and consulted a panel of experts to reach conclusions on how schools should respond to the student mental health crisis. More mental health services at school, more awareness of the pandemic’s disproportionate impact, and more partnerships with community mental health agencies are among the researchers’ suggestions.

The report is part of a series on how the pandemic affected students and schools in the U.S. A previous report examined the academic impact. The next report will look at the impact on students with disabilities.

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