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Recent school closures are taking a toll on kids' mental health

According to the CDC, ER visits for children's mental health issues have risen substantially during the pandemic.

WACO, Texas — Recent school closures and the ongoing changes caused by Covid-19 is taking a toll on children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health related visits for children have risen substantially during the Covid pandemic.

Psychiatric-related visits among young children in March through October of this year was up 24% from the same period in 2019 and visits among adolescents increased by 31%.

"We're noticing a lot more anxiety, a lot more preoccupation with what's gonna come next," Katie Chadwell said, a child and adolescent therapist at the Klaras Center for Families in Waco.

The disruptions to daily life and school all play a role in the negative effect on children's mental health.

"They've got all of these questions and they don't know how to verbalize them," Chadwell said, "and they don't know how to make sense of it so we do see a lot of kids bottling things up."

Chadwell's tips for parents is to be upfront with your child, implement structure as well as an after school routine, and help them find something positive every day.

"When you see your kid not being able identify something to look forward to or something good in their lives, those are all signs of serious concern," Chadwell said.

She recommends checking in on your kids often whether they seem okay or not, and have everyone in your family share how they're feeling so your child knows they're not alone.

"The world might seem really unsafe but you are safe here and that is a phrase I use a lot in counseling and encourage parents to use," Chadwell said.

If your child is struggling with their mental health, Chadwell encourages parents to seek therapy.