Coronavirus Pandemic Presents Challenges For Public School And Mental Health Care


On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from a pediatrician who weighs in on whether children should return to public school in the fall. Also, in this show, we hear an excerpt from the latest episode of Us & Them about the challenges of receiving mental health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the big questions for parents right now is “what is school going to look like in the fall?” Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, came out with a recommendation that school should be in person. The recommendation cited recent research that has found kids are less susceptible to COVID-19 themselves and are less likely to be carriers for it. Meanwhile, they said the risks of not having school include exacerbating food insecurity, educational inequities, social isolation and removing kids from the number one source of referrals for abuse and neglect – their teachers. This week, Kara Lofton spoke with Lisa Costello, the current president of the West Virginia chapter of the AAP on a Facebook Live interview about the recommendation. Here’s an excerpt of their conversation.

COVID-19 has forced millions to stay home for months. And this unprecedented public health precaution has interrupted vital mental health care for many Americans. A new episode of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s program Us & Them focuses on West Virginians, who rely on mental health treatment. Host Trey Kay talks with people who’ve experienced dire consequences as a result of the isolation imposed during “Stay-at-Home” orders. Trey learned how the “shutdown” has affected people with eating disorders.

More than 60,000 West Virginians struggle with an eating disorder. These mental health conditions can affect a person’s physical health and become serious if left untreated. Trey spoke with Dr. Jessica Luizer, who runs the WVU Disordered Eating Center in Charleston.

When the pandemic hit in March, Luzier’s team changed its treatment to address the isolated nature of sheltering in place and social distancing. 

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