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Utica Observer Dispatch: Reopening NY schools: Children’s mental health needs expected to rise


August 31, 2020

Mental health professionals are bracing for the increased demand for services they expect to see once schools reopen.

“I think that the general consensus,” said Jeremy Butler, director of community initiatives at ICAN in Utica, “is that the mental health need of kids is probably higher than it’s ever been before.”

And with schools closed, many students struggling with pandemic-related isolation and stress presumably haven’t been identified yet as needing help. As schools reopen, whether online or in person, these students may start to get identified and referred for services.

“I think the schools are really concerned that kids that wouldn’t normally show up on the radar in terms of mental health are going to show up,” Butler said.

But it’s not clear whether the resources will be in place to help them all. Pandemic-related revenue losses and spending have devastated school district, municipal, county and state budgets.

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