Counselors: anxiety, depression still plague many students after pandemic

WCSD says more students need mental health services.
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 3:06 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s never been easy to be a teenager, but school counselors say the past few years have presented unique challenges.

“I think everyone is trying their best, but the pandemic changed what some people’s best is,” said Megan Evans, a WCSD mental health professional.

Evans and her colleague Tracy Ceragioli say many students are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic, even three years later.

“I would say the biggest [trend] we are seeing is anxiety,” said Ceragioli.

They say anxiety and depression, combined with time in isolation has impacted student behavior.

“We know for kids, behavior is communication,” Ceragioli said.

“They’re trying to tell us something but they don’t have the skills to do that in a way other than, perhaps acting out.”

Evans says the lack of formative time in class has lead to relational issues for some students.

“I’ve heard a lot of teachers say ‘sometimes my freshman, they act a lot like middle schoolers still’ because they’ve missed that time of learning those skills and strategies and how to navigate the world,” Evans said.

Now families, friends and school staff try to fill in the gaps. Evans and Ceragioli say they’re not alone.

The school district is increasing resources by providing more staff and new tools to connect families and counselors.

“In our community, it’s really hard. You could make 6, 7 phone calls and not be able to get an appointment with someone,” Evans said.

Last month, WCSD added the resource Care Solace. The service connects students and families with counselors and mental health professionals.

But Evans says it all comes down to one thing, having genuine conversations with your student.

“Relationship building is the number one key if students have safe adults that they can talk to that is the most important part,” she said.

Student Resources:

Nevada Teen Text Line: 775.296.8336

Safe Voice: 833.216.7233 or

Care Solace: 888.515.0595

Dial 988 or 911 for emergencies.