children's mental health

Natalie Krebs / Side Effects Public Media

Teaching is already challenging enough without a pandemic shaking up how the classroom operates. As schools reopen, many districts are focused on keeping their staff and students safe from COVID-19. But the pandemic is also taking a toll on teachers’ mental health. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on children’s mental health across the country. Advocates are trying to address the problem, but resources can be limited, and in Iowa, plans for a statewide mental health system for children have run into problems.

Children who are on Medicaid in Indiana and need inpatient mental health services are typically allowed three days in a facility. Health care workers need to request permission to keep them longer. But many say that three days isn't enough, and that those requests are often rejected by insurers.


Photo by Fangirl/Pixabay CCO license. https://pixabay.com/photos/texting-boy-teenager-sitting-1999275/

Dr. Darla Hinshaw walks up to the podium in the Indiana Senate chamber. She's there to tell lawmakers about the children she treats as a psychiatrist and the issue standing between kids and effective treatment.  

Nothing Jenn and Jason learned in parenting class prepared them for the challenges they've faced raising a child prone to violent outbursts.

The couple are parents to two siblings whom they first fostered as toddlers and later adopted. (NPR has agreed not to use the children's names or the couple's last names because of the sensitive nature of the family's story.)

Photo by Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media.

In rural areas, access to mental health services can be limited, sometimes even more so for teens and children. And the need for these services is growing, so one Midwestern school is using technology to help bridge this gap.

Natalie Krebs/Side Effects Public Media

Schools are often on the forefront in spotting mental health issues in children. But historically educators have received little training in this area. In Iowa, legislators have set aside $2 million to expand mental health training in schools. But when nearly a quarter of kids are estimated to have a psychiatric disorder, some people want the state to do more.


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Photo Credit: "Aid To Injury" by MAMC Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Dianne Gordon knew something was wrong as soon as her daughter stepped off the school bus one April afternoon. Seven-year-old Rory was inconsolable. 

"It was heart-breaking," says Gordon, who lives in Champaign, Ill. "She was screaming and yelling. She loves school, and she kept yelling, ‘I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back.'”

This week Indiana Public Broadcasting's All IN hosted a discussion on mental health in schools. The show was in parternship with Side Effects Public Media.

Side Effects' Carter Barrett discussed her reporting on Indiana's push to bring mental health services into schools -- a fight sparked by two school shooting attempts. 

After two school shootings last year, lawmakers named mental health services in schools a top priority. Many schools across the state say they need more: more counselors, therapists, funding and support.

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