From the Winnipeg Free Press–Isolated at home, doing remote learning, yet again, the Grade 11 student has more time to overthink — about her marks, loss of motivation, and the last year in missed opportunities.

These are among the items the 16-year-old said come up during counselling sessions, which she started doing this spring through school.

“It’s really mentally draining and miserable to be in your house all day,” said Anantjot, who attends Maples Met School in Winnipeg. “Just talking about those sorts of things helps me to feel like I’m not alone.”

Anantjot Khosa, a grade 11 student at Maples MET School, turned to counselling sessions in the spring to help her through school. Reporter: Maggie Macintosh

Health-care professionals and school staff are increasingly alarmed about the state of student mental health, as the pandemic drags on for youth, most of them studying remotely during the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, cut off from extracurriculars and in-person visits with peers.

Students are tired, unmotivated and lonely. Some are undereating or overeating as a form of coping. Others are reporting high stress, depressive moods, and poor sleep.

“Kids have made a lot of sacrifices for the societal good, whether it be school shutdowns or team shutdowns,” said Dr. Norman McLean, a pediatrician at the Manitoba Clinic.

Whereas the physical health implications of lockdowns have been more obvious to the eye: weight gain, owing to the rise in sedentary behaviour, McLean said the lasting impacts of the pandemic on mental health remain uncertain.

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