Read and respond to the following
My Thesis statement is that Mental health issues in adolescents increased during the COVID-19 pandemic because of school closures, reduced availability of interventional care, and the fears surrounding the vaccine.
During the School year, your children’s day is a routine. Routines are comforting. When we think of school, we equate school to academics and sports, not health care. A school can be a place for adolescents to get their energies out, talk to their friends, cut the fool, and be kids. School closures took that away, and it turned their world upside down. Many parents may think medical services in school are limited to cough drops and band-aids; that is not the case. “A study of mental health services in educational and non-educational settings in the U.S found that almost 60% of adolescents who utilized mental health services received services in educational settings and that more than one-third utilized these services exclusively in educational settings” (Pfefferbaum, 2021).
Teachers and School Nurses are with our kids more during the awake hours than we are. “School nurses have been involved in mental health care for decades; in fact, in 2002-2003, school nurses reported spending 32% of their time providing mental health services” (Caron et al., 2022). When schools closed, this invaluable resource went away. During school, nurses could talk to our children using cognitive behavioral therapy, which is talk therapy. Maybe kids didn’t want to talk to their parents, grandparents, aunt, or uncle. Children lost that resource with everything going on in the world, online, in the home.
There were a lot of fears and concerns surrounding the vaccine. Adults and children alike. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been significant divides among people’s beliefs about the effectiveness of preventative measures like social distancing, mask-wearing, good hygiene, and vaccination, as well as access to and ability to parse through accurate information about the disease” (Lund, 2022). For adolescents, with all of this information, already suffering from anxiety or depression, compounded uncertainties around the vaccine, do I take it or do I not? If I take it, how bad are the side effects? If I don’t take it, will I get the virus? Researchers favoring the lockdowns would argue that the benefits of potential life-saving disease containment & vaccines outweigh increased anxieties and fears. “Opposite arguments also exist, for example, that vaccinating the youngest age may shift infection to higher ages with higher case fatality, especially as many elderly people in many countries are still not vaccinated, and some vaccinated elderly have insufficient immune responses” (Ioannidis, 2021). What does that mean? If little Johnny or little Susie gets a vaccination, could grandma and grandpa be at risk? Research has found that “Widespread school closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused adverse effects on children’s education, physical health, and mental well-being” (Li, D. et al, 2022).
It is clear that adolescent mental health issues increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of the information, right, wrong, or indifferent, out in the world, Leaders at the highest level were trying to do their best. Our children may learn from our successes and failures in the future should they encounter a pandemic like this.
As I reflect on the process of this course, I learned a thing or two, the big one being able to accept constructive criticism from peers. I want to thank my person, not revealing his/her name, for the fantastic work dissecting my draft. After printing everything off, I realized that I was all over the place on paper, but in my head, I was not. I cannot thank you enough! I learned how important it is to research from credible sources and how hard it is to digest a peer-reviewed journal. Most importantly, I learned that I need to slow down while reading, so I can digest and understand what I am supposed to do and be able to deliver it in accordance with the expectations that have been established. Moving forward, I plan on being a better student with that particular piece.
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