Telehealth program offers help to students suffering emotional stress during pandemic

Posted at 8:40 AM, Jul 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 10:40:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic has taken an emotional toll on many young students.

They face a lot of uncertainty right now, but The Salt Lake School District is offering a resource so the students don’t have to navigate their emotions on their own.

Telehealth is a tool that helps students access mental health resources without leaving home.

For months, the normal routines of students have been disrupted, and experts say the lack of social interaction is impacting their mental health.

“Across the board, clearly a lot more isolation, sadness, anxiety, depression,” said Christina Zidow, a licensed clinical social worker and Chief Operating Officer of Odyssey House.

Her team of therapists is joining forces with the SLCSD this summer, offering free, telehealth therapy for students who need someone to talk to.

“We’re also seeing increases in aggressive behavior, particularly among younger children just because of how they’re trying to cope with the isolation and dramatic change,” Zidow said, adding that the remote therapy gives students some direction. “It’s really important that as we help them navigate this changing environment that were able to supplant a lot of those experiences, normal adolescent and childhood experiences with other interventions we can provide at home.”

While the service may be convenient and flexible – there is one drawback.

“We serve a lot of individuals and families who don’t have Wi-Fi or internet connection in their home or don’t have devices where they can connect remotely and consistently,” Zidow said.

There are options for students to do an in-person interview.

The summer program is free to any student who does not have health insurance.

If you’d like to make an appointment, there is a form you can fill out on the SLCSD website.

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