Covid-19 for the past year turned somewhat into a battle between Republicans versus Democrats in the United States, with the level of caution with dealing with the virus sadly corresponding to the party alignment. One thing that both parties seem to agree on the topic of the pandemic, is that it has negatively affected student’s mental health. An article from FOX NEWS, a heavily conservative news channel, blames school closures and lockdowns for an increase of mental illness in children. The author cites the CDC in saying that “Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased [by] approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.” The FOX NEWS article also says that most children will recover once the contributing stressor is gone. But for those kids who were directly affected by the Corona Virus, either with not having food or housing security, becoming ill, or losing a loved one to the virus could lead to more permanent damage. At the end of the day, it appears that the article from FOX NEWS’s solution is to open back schools and businesses despite growing numbers of Covid-Cases.

The article from CNN, a news channel that leans more to the left, has a different take on the steps we can take to help our children, and their mental health, in uncertain times like this. While mental health cases and higher-suicide-related behavior have increased over the last year, when looking at it monthly compared to 2019, some months were lower. The months that did see higher rates of ” suicide-related behaviors” seemingly correspond to months of stressors relating to Covid-19 being more prevalent. CNN realizes that that quarantining and virtual schooling is not quite finished yet, so they provided different solutions to help student’s mental health. These included reducing the access to lethal means for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, keeping an eye out on the students for suicidal behaviors, promoting physical distancing while still being social, and normalizing that getting through the pandemic will take time and is a struggle for everyone. I think that the solutions that CNN provides are practical changes that can lower the rates and bring communities closer together.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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