LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — While spring break is often filled with fun, it also provides a much-needed break for school staff and students across the Natural State.
Mental health experts explained that this break is more important now than ever before.
“They face something completely different than other generations,” said Therapist Natasha Thorne.
Since 2020 students everywhere have had to navigate many challenges.
“Kids are trying and they're doing the best they can and I think parents are trying too,” said Joe Yoder, UAMS Senior Clinical Therapist.
According to the CDC in 2021, 29% of students experienced poor mental health and more than 42% said they felt sad or hopeless.
“Every clinic is usually on a waitlist, and everybody's trying to work and see as many people as possible and help each person individually,” Yoder explained.
Students now have access to more information than previous generations, which has led them to be more involved.
“It's not just sitting around here, and their parents talk about these things, they actually are feeling the real-world effects of these things,” said Thorne.
That exposure along with everyday schoolwork is something experts said only adds to pressure they may already feel academically.
“My eight-year-old, he's in a third grade, and he was literally counting down the days until spring break, he loves school, you know, but it was just like, I mean, he literally said, I need a break,” she said.
This is why therapists believe spring break is much-needed time off for kids to reset before returning to the classroom.
“Kids are just like any of us in the sense that they need time to break,” said Yoder.
Both therapists explained how it’s important for parents to make sure their kids are taking time for themselves no matter what age so they can refresh before finishing the school year.
“Sometimes as adults, we do tend to forget how much pressure is actually on kids out there,” said Thorne. “So, give them that space and create that safe space for them to be able to say, hey, this is going on, or this is bothering me.”
While spring break can look different for everyone, whether it's going on a trip or just simply taking time to go outside and disconnect from our smart devices— experts said it's best to find what works best for your family.