Ms. Manning, With all due respect please understand that Ms. Melnyk made this statement on behalf of me, a constituent (also one of yours since your are a member at large).
I had noticed your reference to “flattening the curve” prior to last week’s meeting, as well as a reply to someone on your FB page, where you said something akin to “COVID has not created a shortage of beds locally, but it has created wait lists for counselors.” *paraphrasing, but that was your reference*
While COVID has increased the number of kids and adults who are struggling with mental health right now, we have always had a wait list and shortage for mental health resources for kids and adults.
Sadly, I know this first hand, as a mother of a bright, beautiful daughter who was self harming and suicidal prior to COVID. We were patients of a CHKD practice who supported her, and recognized CHKD could not get her in within their own network because of the demand. There was a 6 month wait list, and over 3 months for other area practices.
There are some major issues that have been in play way before COVI, and we need to really look at the root cause of what and why we already had a mental health crisis, and an increase pre-Covid in children cutting and undertaking other harmful behaviors...again, all pre-Covid).
Frankly, you are adding to this problem and toxic environment by focusing on other board members and not the problem (again that existed before). What good comes out of posting the video you uploaded tonight?
I asked Ms. Melnyk, as a constituent to simply point out that there are 2 separate issues::
1.)Increase in depression and mental health issues in teens due to Covid
2.)Wait lists, shortages, and mental health crisis already existed pre Covid
These are 2 different points, and as a parent of someone who wanted to leave this earth, counts calories, obsesses when she gets anything below a 98, it strikes a nerve to think you are all of a sudden interested in a crisis that was already on the rise—and continues to grow. It rocked my world when I learned my daughter had a plan on how to leave this earth. You weren’t focused on this struggle the many VB kids and families have had to confront before. Thanks for recognizing it is n issue now.
Please lay off Ms. Melnyk, as she was reading an email that I sent, because every time I hear the “wait list” is due to COVID I cringe—that was already a problem, as I said, and have others. Why can’t we focus on the problem that was there, is there, and not going away instead of focusing on mean rhetoric?
That doesn't change the fact that Melnyk said she didn't think this was causing mental health issues. It doesn't change the fact that it was an untrue and insensitive statement. If Melnyk doesn't care about the welfare of the children than she shouldn't be on the school board, period.
The quote that you attributed to me is false. I have never said what you quoted me as saying. I have said that I believe that our metrics should be based on hospitalizations and deaths in our area rather than eastern region total cases and percentages. I have also said that our hospitalization and death rates remain low in VB. I have also said that COVID isolation has increased the need for mental health specialists and that it is nearly impossible to find a reputable counselor. I have never said that I didn't believe there were not mental health issues in the past. In fact, I have been fighting to improve student discipline and bullying problems in our schools for the last few years that I believe contribute to the problem. I'm so sorry to hear about the challenges your family has faced prior to COVID and again I have never said those problems didn't exist. Data shows that the problems have INCREASED with COVID isolation and I have many reports of COVID related mental health issues directly from parents. I believe strongly that we must get our kids back into school in order to help relieve the mental health struggles, yet my colleague chastised me for having that viewpoint.
You are exactly right, Mrs Manning. Thank you for standing up for these students. As a former middle school teacher, I can verify that the mental health issues have been getting progressively worse over the last decade to the point that it has become alarming. As a current high school teacher, I can also say that this isolation has made it even worse. Even without seeing my students face to face I see major signs of depression among my students including not bathing, not getting dressed, and lack of interest in schoolwork. I teach a special population for whom distance learning is extremely difficult (ELLs) and some are failing every single subject and will not turn in even the simplest of assignments. Their internet connections are spotty, the Zoom meetings freeze and lag for them, and often the audio is so bad we can’t even understand each other. They can learn NOTHING this way. These last couple of years are so incredibly important and they are being thrown away. This is their last real opportunity to become proficient in English before joining the workforce. In the original plan, they were supposed to be given preferential access to school, but they are NOT. They have been treated like everyone else. I am heartsick over my inability to help them. I am always doing too much and not enough. I feel helpless. I feel like they have no voice.