Dr. Patty Price on the toll on mental health while distance learning | KAALTV.com

Dr. Patty Price on the toll on mental health while distance learning

KAAL-TV
Created: January 22, 2021 08:43 AM

(ABC 6 News) - In an interview with local psychologist Dr. Patty Price, Betsy talks about the toll on mental health that families are seeing with students' distance learning. 

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BETSY SINGER: 
Younger students in Minnesota public schools who haven't been inside schools are getting back into classrooms for in-person learning. Many parents in Rochester, where distance learning has been the model they've gotten together and voiced their frustrations in the last week or so about not having their children inside schools. Dr. Patty Price recently submitted a letter to the editor to the Rochester Post Bulletin addressing the mental health toll that distance learning is taking on families and students. What predominant this letter?

DR. PRICE:
I had a friend reach out to me that's part of the group that's organizing those protests and has a Facebook group running and, you know, I work with a lot of tweens and teens and young adults, college students and I got to experience as a parent being shut down in the spring. 

I have a 14-year-old, a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old. And it was horrific to working parents and trying to distance learn with those three kids. And then we are fortunate enough that our kids are in one of the catholic schools here in Rochester, and so they've been back in school full-time since the first day of school. And I had the luxury of kind of forgetting about this, aside from really seeing the awful effects that it's playing on the patients that I see. 

A couple of my friends asked me a few weeks ago to speak on the mental health tool, and I started to really engage, and I realized, wow, this is really that. 


BETSY SINGER:
What about the mental health of the teachers who did not want to be in the classroom because of their concerns with this? 

DR. PRICE:
I understand that you know, teachers are working with a large number of students at a time and, you know, I think -- I think it's proven throughout the country that the schools that are opening up with not having the massive outbreaks that were expected maybe in the early part of the pandemic. Have teachers in their 60s with 36, 37 years of experience teaching classrooms with 25 students and who have not -- 25 students five days a week and there have been no outbreaks at our school and I just think that other parents in the city deserve to have that option, and I really worry about the other -- in particular.

 BETSY SINGER:

What's next? So a letter to the editor is one thing. And voices are being heard. Do you know if any action is going to be taken within our local district here in Rochester for the public school students? 

DR. PRICE:

The need is really desperate right now. I mean, the level of chaos and crisis right now is really desperate, and I just want to communicate that and I also want to make a point of saying that most mental health providers like myself have been shut to new patients for months and I really don't foresee that ending until at least summer, which is really worrisome when these kids are suddenly needing help and there's no help to be had. 

BETSY SINGER:

Dr. Patty price I appreciate your time and anybody who works in mental health, especially these days, my hats off to you


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