As the pandemic abruptly turned life upside down around the world, roughly a million public school kids in NYC were thrust into a wildly inconsistent learning environment, with repeated openings and closings of school buildings and systemwide shifts to online learning as COVID-19 rates surge.,While education officials promise to reopen schools this fall for full-time learning again, many New York City parents and students are calling for more than academic recovery, but a reckoning with the disrupted school system’s mental health toll on kids.,A Year Of Anxiety And Turmoil In the short term after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public school buildings were closing on March 16th, 2020 and students were shifting to remote learning, some kids said they initially celebrated a break from school.,Disparate Impacts For New York City’s public school system, whose enrollment is 41% Latino, 26% Black, 16% Asian and 15% white, the deadly toll of the pandemic has been acutely felt: “During the first five months of the pandemic, an estimated 4,200 of 4 million children in the state lost a parent or caregiver to coronavirus, a rate of more than one out of every 1,000, according to a report by the United Hospital Fund and Boston Consulting Group released at the end of September,” with more than half of those affected children residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, according to Gotham Gazette, which reported the pandemic has disportionately taken parents away from Black and Hispanic families: 1 out of every 600 Black children, and 1 out of every 700 Hispanic children have lost a parent or caregiver, compared to 1 out of 1,400 Asian children and 1 out of 1,500 white children in New York.,The public school student population is also primarily low-income, a point which was hammered home last spring when the city Department of Education had to scramble to outfit hundreds of thousands of families with devices for remote learning.

Patients with cancer are at increased risk for both suicidal ideation and completed suicide due to a combination of biological and psychological factors that must be addressed to increase quality of life.,Unique to cancer is that the risk of suicide persists more than 15 years past diagnosis.4

In addition to increased suicide risk, patients with head and neck cancers have higher depression scores than the general population even before a cancer diagnosis, leading to the question whether this subset of patients are struggling with a biological cause in addition to diagnosis-related symptoms.5 Complicating these cases is the well-known association of many head and neck cancers with tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use, leading to the question of whether the pre-existing mood disorders lead to substance use that increases the risk of cancer.,Depression is a major risk factor, as it is in the general population, but the cancer population is at higher baseline risk for depression, which has been linked to immunological changes.12 Identification and treatment of depression in cancer patients has been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality.13 read more