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    As second winter with Coronavirus approaches, Maryland has resources that benefit students

    As we head into the time of year when the sun shines the least, some now argue that government measures responding to the pandemic, as well as the pandemic itself, have combined to caused unprecedented mental health challenges for those least vulnerable to the virus: children and teens.

    Across America ER visits and long waits have climbed for kids in mental health crisis and a growing number of parents are worried about the long-term effects COVID will have on the mental health of children. Some even contend that America’s children are facing a mental health crisis that no one is talking about.

    What is certain is that many Maryland children and teens continue to learn from home as we head into 2021, and being unusually cooped up for the better part of a year brings with it extraordinary physical and mental challenges for students and their families. Even those students and staff members who are able to return to school in person face novel stressors – such as growing anxieties concerning what were once considered normal human interactions and the unease that comes for some from staying masked or socially distant from others for many hours on end.

    Yet, during dark days like those many are currently experiencing, it’s vitally important that students and adults in schools are reminded to reach out to trusted adults in their lives in order to voice their concerns and air any insecurities they may be feeling. School counselors, for instance, remain at the disposal of Maryland’s public school students, even those who are learning in a fully virtual manner.

    In the event someone doesn’t feel he or she has a trusted adult to turn to but still wants to share share concerns related to student or school safety, they should be reminded that Safe Schools Maryland, an ANONYMOUS reporting system that allows students, parents, and community members to easily and anonymously report school or student safety concerns anywhere in Maryland, is available 24/7. Anonymous reports received are routed to school, public safety, health, and/or social services personnel for appropriate follow up.

    Individuals can anonymously report information to Safe Schools Maryland via the app, the website, or the tip line:

    → App: Google Play | Apple App

    → Web:

    → Phone: 1-833-MD-B-SAFE (1-833-632-7233)

    Maryland also has a crisis hotline (1-800-422-0009) for those in crisis. If someone suspects child abuse or neglect and he or she would like to report such information non-anonymously Child Protective Services offices across the State of Maryland and in other jurisdictions regularly accept such reports. In short, in Maryland a variety of resources and supports exist to prevent tough situations from escalating into serious or unfortunate events.

    2020 has been a difficult experience for many,  and 2021 may be challenging as well, but always remember that we can get through this together. Stay safe, take care of yourself, and remember that you are not alone.