POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - The Poway Unified School District sounds the alarm when it comes to the mental toll COVID-19 has taken on students. The district is reporting an increase in depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health issues.
Winnie Xu is a senior at Westview High School and the sole student board member for the district. She said students are struggling with all the demands and stressors from the pandemic.
"These are our formative years, and everything bombarding us on the news has really forced us to grow up fast," Xu said.
PUSD held a safety summit, where counselors agree COVID-19 has been devastating for our children's mental health.
Mental health clinician Dr. Amanda Morris said parents first need to check in with their own mental health to make sure they are not transferring anxiety to their children.
Morris said families should not be isolating unless they are ill or have been exposed. She said the solution starts in the home and encourages outside play, social interaction, exercise and physical touch.
"The pandemic has been quite devastating. We have seen an absolute rise in mental health issues in youth and increased anxiety, depression and suicide," she said. "We really need to go back to the basics get back to normal as soon as possible, and that starts in home."
Click here to learn more about Dr. Morris' book: I AM HEALTHY: A Child's Guide to Coping with COVID-19.