One thing is for certain, the pandemic that caused remote learning has impinged on the mental health of some kids who, before COVID-19, were productive and happy. I'm sure there are kids in all generations who develop mental disorders, but nothing like what we're seeing in 2021.

Remote learning requires a level of organization and support for the young scholar. Some children live in very cramped apartments, where three, four, or five families, sometimes more, are crammed inside one small unit. How can anyone pay attention to their studies and do homework within that environment?

Putting aside the remote learning issue as part of the cause of the mental disorders in our kids, learn to spot the warning signs and changes in things like their grades, thinking, feelings and behavior.

What's the difference between anxiety and depression? Anxiety is made up of persistent fears and worries that disrupt your child's life. Depression is made up of persistent sadness and loss of interest in schoolwork and distancing from their childhood friendships.

When you talk with your kids, reach them, if you get my drift. You may be shocked to hear where their actual mental state is at, but as a parent, this is part of your responsibility. It's heartbreaking but I have spoken with a few parents who told me they had absolutely no idea or indication that their kid was thinking of death by suicide, or worse, went through with it.

If it's not addressed, mental disorders in children go from bad to worse. Talk with other parents who have experienced behavioral and emotional problems with their own kids.  It can start from something as innocent or well-intentioned as remote learning, and evolve from there, especially if before remote learning, they were doing okay in school and socially.

Instead of chasing their dreams with spirit, I'm starting to see our youth running from their fears and worries.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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