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Panic attacks, suicidal thoughts: Teens bear brunt of pandemic’s mental strain

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The Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Easton Campus opens Jan. 4, 2022.

Medical experts say the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of teens and children.

Doctors say treating it will be a focus of the health care industry in the new year as kids return to classrooms.

Health and wellness professionals say they are seeing more students having difficulty going back to in-person learning and keeping up with consistent school attendance.

Dr. Andrew Clark runs child and adolescent psychiatry at St. Luke University Health Network in Easton. He says “people were having panic attacks, going into the emergency room in distress, having suicidal thoughts, feeling that they are overwhelmed by re-engaging.”

Next week, St. Luke’s will open up a new youth behavioral health center at the former Easton Hospital to help treat teens in crisis.

Lehigh Valley therapist Shonda Moralis says she’s also hearing from both students and teachers who say they are feeling tired and burned out.

“Even though I believe we will recover from it and everybody’s in the same boat, there is this learning deficit,” says Moralis.

She recommends therapeutic breathing and taking time out in nature to help calm some of the mental strain. She says this is a time for people to support family and friends who may be struggling.

Read more from our partners, WLVR.