- Being more irritable, anxious, stressed, angry, and/or sad
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Expressing frustration about school
- Wanting to be alone more often
- Struggling to keep a healthy sleep schedule (sleeping more or less than usual)
- Struggling to engage in school (e.g., poor attendance, falling behind in school, difficulty concentrating, reporting reduced motivation)
- Eating more or less than usual
- Not wanting to engage in activities that they previously liked
- Being worried about the future
Here are some strategies that parents have found helpful to use at home
Strategies to Support Academic Engagement
- Help your child create a specific time and a place to do schoolwork
- If there is a well-lit, non-bedroom space available (e.g., living room), try having your child attend classes and complete schoolwork there.
- Emphasize effort more than their grades.
- When students are feeling stressed, they are often more sensitive to corrective/negative feedback.
- Encourage your child to share their Canvas pages with you so that you have an understanding of how they are doing academically.
Strategies to Promote Mental Health
- Your child is feeling a lot of strong, negative emotions. Letting them know that what they are feeling is okay (and makes sense) is really important.
- Encourage physical activity (and being outside)
- Getting outside and moving around every day can help improve sleep, focus, and mood. Doing this with your child might help support initiation.
- Encourage your child to build in a daily time for high-interest activities
- Taking guilt-free time off from school and work can help reduce stress.
- Mental Health America and the National Association of School Psychologists offer some additional strategies to support your child’s mental health.
If you think that your child may need more structured mental health support, here are some resources that families have found useful:
- This document highlights various community-based resources that are available to families in Brookline.
- If your child is experiencing a mental health emergency, you can access the Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST) at 1-877-382-1609.
- This Comprehensive Resource list, which includes mental health supports, is regularly updated on the BHS Homepage.
- Consider setting up an appointment with your child’s primary care provider to determine if there are any physical contributors to your child not feeling well. We can speak with your child’s PCP to help coordinate care and support.
Working with BHS
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health (e.g., have seen significant changes in their behavior) or school engagement (e.g., refusing school), please email their guidance counselor, dean, and other BHS trusted adults. After reaching out to staff, we will set up a time to speak with you and your child to:
- Brainstorm the best action steps and supports moving forward. As part of this work, we will review your child’s academic progress and social-emotional functioning to determine the supports that best fit your child’s needs.
- Review your child’s academic plan (e.g., course schedule, the number of days they are engaging in in-person learning) and co-determine if adjustments are necessary.
- Set up a time to speak with collateral providers (e.g., community-based clinicians, mentors, PCP) to coordinate care.
- Highlight the mental health supports that are available to all students (e.g., remote social groups, X block clubs)
- Coordinate a plan with your child’s teachers to develop in-class strategies and supports to improve their engagement.
- Review and highlight options for community-based care.