Health expert warns of mental health issues, disordered eating among stressed-out students

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FILE – In this Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 file photo, students of the Robert-Koch vocational college sit with face masks in the classroom during computer science lessons in Dortmund, Germany. Despite a spike in coronavirus infections, authorities in Europe are determined to send children back to school. At least 41 of Berlin’s 825 schools reported virus cases as classes resumed this month, and thousands of students have been quarantined around the country. But Germany is determined not to close schools anew, so they’re sending individual students or classes into quarantine instead. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)— The school year is approaching and stress levels are running high among some students. Health experts say a “second curve” of COVID-19 is its mental health impact.

“As we’ve gotten further into COVID and we’re getting closer to schools reopening, we’re seeing kids struggle more, and we’re seeing that loss of control but also the loss of their normal coping skills,” said Dr. Julie Morison, Director of HPA/LiveWell.

She says the usual things that helped kids tolerate distress—sports, school, and distractions aren’t available, so kids are falling back on unhealthy coping skills, including disordered eating.

“So if you’re talking about a loss of control, it’s really around, if that’s the case, then that means this eating disorder is helping them manage that discomfort,” she said.

Dr. Morison says when it comes to any mental health issue, parents should look for acute changes in their child’s behavior and seek help right away as early intervention is key.

HPA/LiveWell has shifted to telehealth treatment since March, and even expanded into western New York to ensure everyone continues to get the help they need amid the pandemic. According to HPA/LiveWell, at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. One in six males and one in five females will struggle with disordered eating in their lifetime.

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