To a child, this feels like an unbearable punishment that’s lasting a lifetime. They feel alone, in the dark. Many lack the coping resources and connection to caring adults to help them make it through this difficult time.

I see it every day. The negative impacts of school closures are compounding and taking a toll on the emotional, physical and mental health of our kids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits for children aged 5-11 and 12-17 increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.

In Northern California, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland has seen an alarming 75% increase in the number of children brought in for emergency mental health services that required immediate hospitalization.