Original article written by Jason Cohen for the Bronx Times.
In preparation for the upcoming academic year, behavioral health specialists are emphasizing the importance of mental health for students. Dr. Zubair Khan, child psychiatrist at the Montefiore School Health Program, advise families to have open and honest conversations often throughout the unusual and difficult school year. Tge Montefiore School Health Program consists of 31 school-based health centers located throughout the Bronx, providing access to more than 40,000 students. Dr. Khan discusses the stigma surrounding mental health, particularly in prediominately immingrant and BIPOC communities such as the Bronx, “Kids are more open minded than adults. The challenge is trying to get parents and adults on board.” With the added challenge of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social conseqeunces, it is crucial that young people have someone they feel comfortable speaking openly with. Dr. Khan suggests that "parents help kids understand what they are walking into, reinforce that the new environment is intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, maintain a schedule at home, make sure they are getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and getting physical activity every day."
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