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Vegas-area therapist raising alarms on student mental health

Posted at 4:59 PM, Oct 22, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The stress, pressure and anxiety during this pandemic are taking a toll on people’s mental health - especially for many students still adjusting to distance learning.

A Vegas-area therapist is sounding the alarm on a rising number of students who need help with some even taking their own lives.

At a time when many kids are learning through a computer screen and staying at home, the transition still isn’t easy. Family therapist Dr. Sheldon Jacobs says it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

“Starting in the middle of the summer, I felt like things started to change for the worst for a good amount of kids in our community,” he said.

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Jacobs says there has been an uptick in the number of kids referred to him for mental health needs and has seen a number of them take their own lives due to anxiety over the pandemic causing distress.

“A lot of confusion. A lot of uncertainty as it relates to everything going on in our world right now,” Jacobs said.

The Clark County School District says it’s an issue they are taking seriously by reaching out to students and parents and offering them resources.

Last year, there were more than 120 suicide attempts with 19 this year.

One survivor says she has a message to kids who may be depressed.

“There’s nothing abnormal about you. Mental health challenges are normal. They happen," said Ashley Floyd, a program director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Southern Nevada.

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Floyd says she tried to take her life when she was 12 but was able to get the help she needed by communicating.

“Speak up for yourself and advocate for yourself. If you’re having challenges, find a trusted person you can share it with,” she said.

Dr. Jacobs says parents should try to speak with their children if they see signs.

“Signs like if a kid is accustomed to eating a lot and they stop eating. Or if they’ve been sleeping 9 to 10 hours and now suddenly sleeping 1-2 hours,” he said.

Links to NAMI can be found here. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1- 800-273-8255 and available 24/7 in English and Spanish.

Dr. Jacobs will also hold a Zoom virtual town hall with CCSD Trustee Linda Cavazos on Oct. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. here.