Clinical research requires an understanding of how schools are providing resources for children with mental health needs, lack of peer contact, economic distress, and reduced in-person opportunities during the Covid-19 pandemic (Forget et al, 2020). Prior to the pandemic, 90% of school psychologists reported experiencing burnout during their careers (Schilling et al, 2019). Burnout increases the risk of feelings of stress, emotional strain, and negative perceptions of work-life. This study aimed to investigate symptoms of anxiety and depression among school-based mental health providers before and during the pandemic. This research evaluated changes in occupational duties, students’ experiences, and stress self-management among interveners. Fifty-six school psychologists, counselors, and social workers completed an online questionnaire to assess symptoms of anxiety and depression, occupational impact on stress, involvement in planning services, and perceived adequacy of services provided to students. Eight participants were interviewed to expand on methods of providing care, challenges, and experienced stress. A significant increase in anxiety and depression scores was found from before to after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Results suggested that the pandemic led to an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression. From the survey, participants indicated that scores of anxiety and depression were related to age, occupation, and lack of involvement in planning services. Interviews revealed difficulties faced with the uncertainty of day-to-day tasks, new responsibilities, Covid-19 protocols, concerns for students’ exposure to interpersonal experiences, and addressed coping strategies for providers’ stress. This study was limited by the population sample and should expand to a more representative sample including participants outside of New York State. For future research, interveners should be surveyed after the Covid-19 pandemic to explore areas of trauma, stress, and anxiety. Research should investigate the emotional preparation in mental health training and supports provided by schools for the well-being of mental health professionals. To ameliorate levels of stress among interveners today, it is hoped that results would encourage school-based professionals to implement, develop, or gain inspiration from interventions and strategies indicated by respondents. The implementation of social support groups for interveners would allow for gaining mental health support and a line of communication with more mental health school-based providers within the school system or district.
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