KALAMAZOO, Mich. — While school has been in session for a couple of weeks, many students are back to learning in person, and for some it may be an adjustment.
Students have been learning virtually for the last year and a half due to the pandemic, but now with many back in classrooms experts said some kids are experiencing mental health challenges and even separation anxiety.
"It is a huge transition for many of them," said Dr. Glinda Rawls, a unit director and associate professor for Counselor Education at Western Michigan University.
As kids get used to the routine of being back in school after 17 months, it's a lot of transition. There are new classrooms, new schools, new learning patterns and even new learning environments for them to get used to.
"Students are going through a real transition with regard to relearning, socializing, interacting with others, which all have limitations."
Dr. Rawls said it's a multitude of things causing this anxiety or other mental health issues, and it's not just impacting a certain group of students.
It's all school-aged children from kindergarten to college.
"We've been talking about how folks during the pandemic, children especially, have been experiencing some mental health challenges, the anxiety that they have to experience the isolation and not being able to interact with their friends and how all of that weighed on their mental health issues," said Dr. Rawls.
The message Dr. Rawls wants people to take away is to pay attention to your children.
"Really pay attention to what kinds of needs they may have, and being in tune with when you notice that there's a difference in their behavior or academic performance, or learning and reaching out to try to make sure that you find those places in spaces that can offer that assistance," said Dr. Rawls.
Dr. Rawls said those places offering assistance can vary depending on your children's needs. The services can vary from mental health services, medical services, pediatricians and even counselors.