Over three-fourths of American public schools have reported a rise in the number of students seeking mental health assistance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by Fox News, the data was released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which operates under the guidance of the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The report shows that 76 percent of public schools saw staff express concerns about the mental health of their students, including depression, anxiety, and trauma since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.
“We know COVID-19 disrupted our schools and colleges,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, “and this report serves as an important reminder of the work left to be done on the road to recovery.” As such, he said the department’s “urgency has shifted from getting institutions open to, now, keeping them open; providing the necessary academic, financial and mental health supports for students and families; and strengthening our K-12 and post-secondary education systems.”
In addition to the 76 percent, a separate question in the report found that just 56 percent of schools feel confident that they are capable of providing sufficient mental healthcare to all students. The survey consisted of 830 public schools across the U.S., ranging from elementary schools to middle and high schools.
While 96 percent of schools reported providing some mental health assistance in the 2021-2022 academic year, 88 percent said they could not provide enough services to meet the needs of all students. The primary reasons for a lack of such care were insufficient numbers of licensed mental health professionals and inadequate funding for such services.
“We’ve seen an increase in students seeking mental health services and in staff voicing concerns about students’ mental health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr. “The pandemic has taken a clear and significant toll on students’ mental health. This snapshot of the pandemic’s mental health impact is critical in informing the need for student mental health services.”