CHI Health promotes mental health talks in schools with book

CHI Health promotes mental health talks in schools with book
CHI Health promotes mental health talks in schools with book(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 8:41 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Going back to school can be a stressful time for kids regardless of what is going on around them, but going back to school during a pandemic can add a layer that’s both challenging and confusing.

CHI Health has a history of distributing tools to local schools to talk about various aspects of physical health.

Amid COVID-19 it decided to focus on mental health.

CHI Health distributed 3,000 copies of the book “A New Norm” to elementary and middle schools in hopes of starting conversations about mental health.

“It really helps explain what you’re feeling with mental health issues, anxiety, depression,” said Tina Aims the VP of Marketing and Communications for CHI Health. “We wanted to make sure our schools had access to this resource.”

Dr. Monica Arora is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for CHI Health. She says many times children show the same symptoms of mental health issues but lack a way to communicate how they are feeling.

“Anxiety of unknown, disappointment, and frustrations of school schedules,” said Dr. Arora. “I just think this has elevated the stress and anxiety in kids and I’m really hoping that we can reach out to the schools, parents, and kids so we can identify these issues early on in their lives.”

Dr. Arora says CHI Health’s mental health services are continuing to see an increase in patients during the pandemic. With 21 percent more phone calls or about 3,000 per month.

“We’ve also seen a significant increase in our outpatient appointments, the last data shows about a 12 percent increase,” said Dr. Arora.

Along with the book, CHI is also including a discussion guide. To allow kids to analyze and talk through Norm’s journey and compare if they might be feeling those ways as well.

“We really worked with our mental health professionals to tweak them to meet the needs of our market and our kids,” said Ames.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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