Policy Matters Blog

CNN Town Hall Recap

Last Thursday, May 21, NASP past president and school psychologist John Kelly participated in a CNN town hall on the coronavirus pandemic's effect on kids' mental health with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The segment presented an opportunity for the work of school psychologists to be highlighted on a national platform.

"What we know about crisis events is that it affects kids in different ways. There are multiple factors that predict how one child would react versus another," said Kelly, when asked about the coronavirus' long-lasting impacts on the mental health of kids. "So, for the majority of kids, they will come through this and be okay. There may be some short-term issues that we need to help them through to get them back on track." 

"But we do know that there's a smaller subset of children and adolescents, who have some particular vulnerabilities and challenges they have been facing, and we may need to address those issues over the longer term."

When asked if he believes there will be a major regression with most children's education and what they learned in the first half of the school year, Kelly confirmed that "There's no doubt that there's going to be disruption to kids' education." However, he said, "Schools in general are set up to support children - even when we're not physically together. Anything we can do now [to support the academics and mental wellbeing of kids] will help mitigate the problem later on."

In discussions about reopening schools, Kelly reaffirmed the need to be fully prepared to meet the mental health challenges that the pandemic has brought on to our kids - and having the right resources, staff, and support to do so. 

"We're talking about reopening schools and setting up systems of support - but the key is, not only what we're doing now, but making sure we are prepared to support students when schools re-open."