As children and adolescents returned to school this fall, they did so in what the Surgeon General has labelled a crisis in mental health. Even before the pandemic, around one in five children had a mental health disorder. Meanwhile, nearly 50 million children attend public schools across the nation. About half of those schools perform mental health screenings, and 42% provide mental health services. States across the nation have recently passed laws to ensure more provision of these services in schools.
The start of an academic year can bring fear and uncertainty for many, this year concerns may be compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent gun violence-linked mass casualties. Incidents of school shootings and gun violence have a devastating impact far beyond those directly affected. We are left with several unanswered questions and the lingering fear of future events. As schools reopen, the questions many families now face are: Is my child safe at school? How can I protect my child from the COVID-19 surge AND school shootings? Fortunately, reliable information and useful resources can help address these concerns.