Psychologist warns parents over impact pandemic has on children’s mental health

ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of students across Central Florida are set to return to in-person instruction next week.

This comes after many of them had difficult fall semesters online.

School officials around Central Florida have concerns with slipping grades and lack of engagement online.

Watch: Florida coronavirus testing sites reach capacity over post-holiday surge

Beyond just getting sick, many people’s social, emotional and mental well-being has been impacted by the pandemic, especially for children.

“The CDC says from April through October, mental health visits to pediatric emergency departments jumped roughly 28%,” said psychologist, Dr. Kimberly Renk.

Renk said parents should talk openly with their children about how they are feeling.

“It’s just a matter of how you ask and how you listen to the answers that are received,” Renk said.

Watch: As COVID-19 vaccine trials continue, the need for minority participants remains

Psychologists said a lot of stress, anxiety and even depression for children were brought on by the situations playing out with schools.

Issues impacting children the most include the initial switch to all-remote learning, followed by the decision of whether to return to the classroom or stay online.

In just a few days, the second semester begins for Central Florida students.

“I think parents should be thinking about what are some of our options to do this better or different than the first semester,” Renk said.

Watch: ‘Liquid gold’: First veterans at Orlando VA receive COVID-19 vaccine

Some parents did that early on. And now, thousands of students across Central Florida who learned virtually in the fall will be joining their classmates in person.

More than 18,000 students in Orange County, 3,200 in Osceola County and roughly 7,600 in Seminole County are set to make the switch to face-to-face learning.

See the full report in the video above.