“Too Much Change”: Baltimore City Public Schools Grapples With A Post-Pandemic Mental Health Crisis

Students walk down the hallway at Leith Walk Elementary School in Baltimore City. Screenshot via @baltcityschools on Instagram.

Kameran Rogers was in seventh grade when his school closed. As the covid-19 pandemic unfolded, Rogers joined other students around the world who were now conducting daily lessons on a computer screen.

In Baltimore City—where Rogers is now a freshman in high school—-the end of seventh grade is a pivotal moment. The grade point average earned at the close of that school year will determine which high schools students are able to attend. With the transition to virtual learning, Rogers said many of his friends struggled to keep up. 

“It was really stressful,” Rogers said. “A lot of students weren’t really doing well, and a lot of students were stressing out virtually because they felt like they weren’t able to get the help that they needed.”

But Rogers’ eventual return to the classroom didn’t prove much easier. Though he said he struggled with distance learning, the shift to in-person schooling brought a new set of concerns.

“There was just too much change going on,” Rogers said. “And I can see how that could affect someone’s mental health because it did for me.”

 National trends of children’s mental health

Though many professionals have been sounding the alarm on kids’ mental health for years, the pandemic sparked a national conversation about youth struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression—some caused by pandemic-related losses and the interruption to social development.

In a 2020 survey by the Children’s Hospital in Chicago, 71% of the 1,000 parents interviewed reported that the pandemic had affected their children’s mental health, according to an article by the American Psychology Association. In another survey conducted the same year by America’s Promise Alliance, nearly a third of the 3,300 high school students included said they felt more depressed and unhappy than usual. 

Though the pandemic posed additional challenges for adults, kids were especially affected by the disruption to daily life and other consequences such as the loss of loved ones, said Sarah Warren, BCPS’ executive director of Whole Child Services & Support. “I think we are seeing that playing out in schools.”

Resources for Baltimore City students

Warren coordinates mental health services within the city school system, and she said the teachers, social workers, school leaders, and other staff she works with have reported concerns about increased stress and pressure among students.

For kids in Baltimore, the city school system offers many resources and mental wellness measures, including student wellness support teams—a coordinated group of school employees, such as social workers, psychologists, and guidance counselors, designed to identify students who need help and provide holistic support. 

The district also requires schools to set aside time each day for students to share their concerns, check-in with their feelings, and connect with their peers and school staff. At the elementary school level, the practice is called “morning meeting,” and for middle and high schoolers, this period is referred to as “advisory.”

“We know when it comes to mental health and social emotional well being, that relationships are key. That’s also what the research around trauma shows,” Warren said. “One of our big areas of focus is just on ensuring that our adults build strong relationships with our students, and that our students have at least one person in the building that they feel comfortable with.”

Each BCPS building has at least one social worker and an assigned psychologist, who often serves multiple buildings, Warren said. The city school system also has a program called expanded school behavioral health, which partners with outside organizations to bring in additional mental health support.

Obstacles to access

Though Warren said the behavioral health program has received national recognition and additional funding, city schools have struggled to expand its services, due to a nationwide shortage of school and mental health employees. 

“Our goal is really to add social workers and to add expanded school behavioral health clinicians,” Warren said. The program is currently in 131 schools with plans to eventually adopt it district-wide. “But we haven’t been able to do that yet because of the national shortage of mental health clinicians. It’s not really taking away our support services, but it is inhibiting our ability to expand as we want to.”

A general shortage in mental health providers isn’t the only hurdle—city schools also lack Black clinicians in particular, said Nia Jones, a consultant with the Black Mental Health Alliance for Education and Consultation, Inc., an organization dedicated to training both youth and adults to tackle mental health issues with a culturally-relevant approach. 

Jones is a licensed social worker, and she co-leads much of the alliance’s youth programming. She said that many of the students she works with often find difficulty connecting with the often white therapists and counselors in the school system.

“I’ll hear from young people, ‘I really just want a therapist who looks like me,’” Jones said. “And somebody that’s going to be committed to it. So often we get white clinicians in Baltimore City Public Schools, and folks who are just trying to get their hours and then they leave. No one really stays in the community.”

Even with more Black and long-term clinicians, students may still hesitate to reach out to the school’s designated mental health providers, Jones said, a concern echoed by high school freshman, Kam Rogers.

“A lot of people who are really closed off can’t go to those people. There’s no sense of comfortability. You don’t see your guidance counselor every day. You don’t see the school nurse every day,” Rogers said, adding that most of his peers either go to each other or to their teachers for mental health concerns. 

To help young people support each other in these moments, the Black Mental Health Alliance partners with schools and youth-led organizations to provide mental health advocacy training that includes skills such as how to safety plan when a friend says they want to harm themselves. 

“Young people are the first line of defense for their friends,” Jones said. “If we can try to get in front of it, to mitigate it, to be able to have a little bit of risk management at the friend level, I think that’s very powerful.”

In the future, Jones said she hopes to grow her team to accommodate training in all high schools across the city, and eventually, turn mental health into a class like home economics or physical education.

 “How amazing would it be to be able to save somebody’s life?” Jones said.

Editorial Disclaimer: Reporting for this story was provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and we thank them for their support. However, the findings and conclusions presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.

167 thoughts on ““Too Much Change”: Baltimore City Public Schools Grapples With A Post-Pandemic Mental Health Crisis”

  1. custom coursework
    [url=”https://brainycoursework.com”]coursework on a resume[/url]
    coursework psychology

  2. [url=https://tamoxifen247.com/]40 mg tamoxifen[/url] [url=https://thebarepharmacy.com/]thecanadianpharmacy[/url] [url=https://furosemide.pics/]where to buy furosemide[/url] [url=https://orlistat.cyou/]orlistat 120 price in india[/url] [url=https://phenergan.lol/]phenergan medicine over the counter[/url] [url=https://fluoxetines.com/]prozac prescription uk[/url] [url=https://lisinopril.pics/]zestril price[/url]

  3. [url=http://dynamicpharmacyhealth.com/]trustworthy online pharmacy[/url] [url=http://levitraz.com/]mexico levitra cheap[/url] [url=http://tamoxifena.online/]tamoxifen price south africa[/url] [url=http://diclofenactab.online/]voltaren 2 cream[/url] [url=http://dexamethasone.pics/]dexamethasone 4 mg cost[/url]

  4. [url=https://dexamethasone247.com/]dexamethasone 5 mg[/url] [url=https://gabapentinx.shop/]medication gabapentin 300mg[/url] [url=https://bactrim247.com/]bactrim 1[/url]

  5. vorbelutrioperbir

    Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  6. Секс послуги в Києві – повії, дівчина на ніч. Інтим послуги.. [url=https://escort-sex-ukraine.online]Отличный сексуальный отдых [/url] Якщо Ви спокушений поціновувач жіночої краси, володієте витонченим смаком і ледве можете встояти перед вишуканими вигинами жіночого тіла, то зняти повію та зняти повію і насолодитися. Зняти проститутку Наш сайт поможет найти тебе проститутку. Прочти курс молодого бойца. — Снять проститутку в Украине просто – выбери девушку, зайди в ее анкету и позвони по ее мобильному номеру. Договорись о встрече и стоимости секс услуг, а потом иди на встречу с ней. [url=https://sexukraineescort.online]Девушки по телефону бесплатно [/url] Здесь вы найдете путан на любой вкус: пышек и худышек, блондинок и брюнеток, зрелых и молоденьких. [url=https://escort-ukraine-intim.online]Женщины ищущие лизуна [/url] Моя подтянутая фигурка сведет тебя с ума с первых же минут знакомства. Проститутки Киева с проверенными фотографиями. Цена за 1 час: Цена за 2 часa: Цена за ночь: Телефон. Массаж эротический. Эля Возраст 29 лет Рост см. Достаточно лишь подобрать подходящую даму, список услуг и можно связываться по указанным в анкете контактам. Возраст: 18 65 18 Рост: Вес: 35 80 35 Грудь: 1 7 1 7. Ваши желания будут удовлетворены, даже если это казалось для вас недосягаемым. Алина Возраст 22 года Рост см. Лучшие проститутки Киева, секс досуг – Feikiev. [url=https://negd.gov.in/swachhta-pakhwada-1st-15th-feb-2020?page=13279#comment-799514]Девушка познакомится с мужчиной Знакомство девушки[/url] 01fc4c5

  7. Manual Serville

    Is downloading a copyright content through rapidshare & megaupload is illegal in uk?

  8. • ЗНАКОМСТВА ЛЬВОВ – сайт знакомств Львова. [url=https://sex-bez-obyazatelstv-poltava.online]Объявление знакомства с номерами телефонов [/url] Это известная не только в нашей стране, но и за ее пределами, площадка. Возможности, которые открывает бесплатный сайт знакомств с бесплатной перепиской , избавляет от трудностей. Знакомство между парами любого возраста возможно на доске объявлений. Заводят знакомства на Loveplanet русскоязычные пользователи со всего мира. Как правило, пара, которая длительное время находится вместе, ищет разнообразия в интимной жизни. Знакомства с парами Feb 3, · Нередко возникают ситуации, когда одна пара захотела найти себе друзей по интересам. [url=https://sex-bez-obyazatelstv-sumy.online]Интим досуг [/url] Мы решили изменить культуру онлайн-знакомств. Поэтому у нас большая часть анкет — это люди, которые ищут серьезные отношения, готовы заключить брак, настроены найти настоящую любовь. Не коммерция и не. Девушка Парня 25 – 32 лет Серьезные отношения Дружба и общение Брак, создание семьи. Девушка Парня 40 – 65 лет Дружба и общение Флирт Любовь, романтические отношения. Желание должно быть обоюдным, иначе есть риск не только не найти партнеров, но и разрушить свои отношения. На вы найдете парней и девушек всех возрастов. Mar 10, · Прежде чем регистрироваться на сайте в разделе знакомства пара парой, нужно всё тщательно обсудить. В анкете важно точно описать, для каких целей Вы ищете знакомства. [url=https://sex-bez-obyazatelstv-chernigov.online]Ищу просто секс [/url] Техническая поддержка проверяет аккаунты на достоверность каждый день. [url=https://sex-bez-obyazatelstv-sumy.online]Он ищет пару [/url] [url=http://www.kay16.jp/blog2010/log/1305302300.html?]Частные объявления женщин для секса Хочу секса без обязательств[/url] 6a229d2

  9. купить гостиничные чеки в санкт петербурге

    Hi there! I know this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask. Does operating a well-established blog like yours take a massive amount work? I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it! купить чеки на гостиницу в санкт петербурге

  10. bezogoroda.ru

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly! bezogoroda.ru

  11. buy casino chips

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Cheers fake casino game

  12. Hello! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot! nadachee.ru

  13. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it! daachka.ru

  14. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back. yes-dacha.ru

  15. obshchestroy.ru

    Your style is really unique compared to other people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page. obshchestroy.ru

  16. remont-master-info.ru

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better? remont-master-info.ru

  17. Juristide konsultatsioon

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people. Jurist

  18. накрутка подписчиков в яппи

    I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A handful of my blog visitors have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Opera. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue? накрутка яппи

  19. I am really pleased to read this webpage posts which contains lots of helpful data, thanks for providing these information. twitch.tv

  20. перетяжка мягкой мебели в Новосибирске

    Howdy! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work! перетяжка мебели

  21. отчетные документы за проживание москва

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I can’t subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!! гостиничный чек москва

  22. www animal xxx move

    What’s up everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this site, and article is truly fruitful for me, keep up posting these articles or reviews. animal xx vidio

  23. Hey there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Exceptional blog and great design and style. daachkaru

  24. Howdy are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated! myinfodacha.ru

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to The Block Newsletter

We’re your one-stop shop for trustworthy, local news and information in Baltimore.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top