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Parents express concern over long-term mental health concerns for children

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A year into this ongoing pandemic, there's growing concern about the mental impact of isolation in many aspects of our lives.

That's especially true when it comes to school-aged children and distance or hybrid learning.

Along with the short term aspect, parents are also wondering about how it'll affect development down the road.

Rochester Public School Parent Jana Miller

Jana Miller has two kids at Harriet Bishop Elementary in Rochester. She said her children never really had any issues about feeling frustrated before the pandemic took the things they loved away.

"My son, a while ago, said that there's no happiness in distance learning," Miller said. "My daughter came home from school in tears the other day, she was so frustrated with being separated from everybody."

Miller said it's due to being separated from those things in life that they've really loved in the past.

Miller agrees with the saying; "it takes a village to raise a child." She says it's a village where teachers play a major role, and she's not the only one who feels that way.

Rochester Public School Parent Jessica Cruz

Jessica Cruz said her children have also felt the negative impact of the pandemic, resulting in her seeking help for them from a counselor.

"We've been waiting for over two months to get in to see a counselor," Cruz said. "How do we get them help when the help that we are trying to get them is full?"

Rochester psychologist Dr. Patricia Price works with children ages 12 and up and experienced an increase in the number of patients she saw.

Rochester psychologist Dr. Patricia Price

"It got to the point that in November I had to completely stop taking the patients. I haven't taken any new patients," Price said.

Even with Price doing that, her workload hasn't slowed down.

"I really do worry about the plan that RPS has in place right now because I personally feel like mental health has been on the absolute back burner," Price said.

Cruz added that she would ask district if this harm is really worth keeping children out of school any longer.

Price advises parents speak with the children often, look out for warning signs of children alone in the dark, and if the situation gets serious, take them to an emergency room.

Ubah Ali

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