This last year, spent in a pandemic, has changed the lives of so many. But those changes might be felt most acutely by children. Their routines of family life, social life, and learning, were upended. We’ve heard about a “lost school year,” for kids, but what about just a “lost year?”

The problems weren’t just felt by those children with the most acute mental health disorders, but we know that for those children who are most at risk, supports weren’t always in place  – before Covid.

So, what are the solutions? This past Tuesday night, The Connecticut Mirror, the Gannett Newspapers of New England and the Solutions Journalism Network collaborated on an event called  “Coping With Covid: Mental Health Solutions For Kids”

We talked about the challenges – and the solutions for this big problem. And we started with a story from the CT Mirror’s Adria Watson. She spent weeks following the story of families struggling to find mental health services for their children, and in some cases winding up waiting in the emergency room for days on end, unable to get appropriate care.

We also had experts to answer questions from our audience.

Randi Silverman is the executive director of the Youth Mental Health Project, a Connecticut-based charity that has branches in five states. The project’s goal is “to change the conversation and raise awareness that kids can struggle with mental health” through its Parent Support Network.

Michelle Doucette Cunningham is executive director of Connecticut After School Network, an organization that is devoted to developing the “whole child.” The Network is also home to the Social Emotional Learning Alliance For Connecticut.

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John is CT Mirror's Director of Events. A well-known and highly-regarded radio personality and moderator, he divides his time between CT Mirror — where he heads up our events program and serves as a multi-platform consultant — and the NPR / PRI program Science Friday. Previously, John was executive editor of the New England News Collaborative and the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England. He also appeared weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s news roundtable program. His 25 years in public media also include serving as vice president of news for Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, host of WNPR’s Where We Live, and regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He was twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show.

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