Maggie McGonigal: Barrington 220 Board of Education Mental Health Survey
NAMIBA: Mental health is a simmering crisis for many of our schoolchildren, partly hidden by isolation but increasingly evident in the distress of parents, the worries of counselors and early research.
As a member of the school board how would you address this crisis?
Maggie McGonigal: It’s very clear that over the past year the effect of the pandemic crisis on our children has been absolutely devastating on many levels, with mental health being the most significant. A 2018 study by health experts from Preventative Medicine Reports and the American Heart Association have stated that excessive use of electronic devices can have an adverse impact to the cortex of developing brains. Unfortunately with the distance learning models our children have not just been isolated from their classmates but are forced to spend 6+ hours per day in front of their computers and/or tablets. As has been reported on virtually all news networks, issues such as depression, overdoses, obesity and suicidal behaviors have increased drastically, with a 300% increase in medical visits during this time. This translates into harmful long-term effects on the children and our communities.
It is CRITICAL to have kids back in school for proper education, social and mental development. It will be a challenging and long process to get our loved young ones back to normal, but we can accomplish this with proper guidance from teachers and parents. As part of the D220 School Board I will tirelessly coordinate all efforts to facilitate this process. Remote learning has been a failure, and we must NEVER allow school shutdowns of this magnitude to happen again.
Learn more by reading Maggie McGonigal’s feature in the Daily Herald. More information about the election can be found on District 220’s website. For more mental health resources, subscribe to NAMI Barrington Area’s newsletter.