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Studies show pandemic still taking toll on children's mental health; A Mesa tutoring organization has some advice

Tutor Doctor Gateway & East Mesa, a tutoring organization, weighs in on the pandemic's toll on students and ways to help.

MESA, Ariz. — In almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects are still greatly impacting children. 

COVID and all of the learning curves have taken a devastating toll on students in and out of the classroom.

The American Psychological Association reports that mental illness disorders in children are at an all-time high. Team 12 spoke with a Valley tutoring organization on what Arizona families can do to help their children.

"My biggest priority is to get students back on the path of success," said Kim Rohr, vice president of the local Tutor Doctor that serves East Mesa and Queen Creek. 

"We partner with the schools to make sure what we're tutoring is transferable to what is being taught in the classroom... We pride ourselves on getting down to what the student is struggling with and what is going to build that intrinsic motivation in them."

RELATED: Study: COVID impact on Arizona students deemed 'significant and broad'

Tutor Doctor is a tutoring organization that currently works with about 65 students one-on-one. Rohr said about a year into the pandemic, more parents started reaching out in desperate need of help. 

"When Arizona opened back up parents were very eyes wide open to the fact that their kids were behind."

They needed help with grades but also with their emotional well-being.  

The American Psychological Association reports that 71% of parents said the pandemic has taken a toll on their child’s mental health based on recent studies.

RELATED: Children are dying by suicide. These resources could help someone in need

"I’ve seen it first-hand as a parent how the effects of education can affect a child and present itself with mental illness," Rohr said. 

She said her daughter, who is now in sixth grade, suffers from anxiety.  

Credit: Kim Rohr

"In addition to her anxiety that was happening at pickup, homework was a huge struggle. She would have a complete meltdown."

Other parents have been calling Tutor Doctor Gateway & East Mesa after noticing similar stresses in their kids.  

"I have spoken to many parents about their child's experience. They say their anxiety is coming up, they’re crying more, it seems to be a huge struggle at home."

If this is hitting home for you, Rohr said the best thing to do is ask for help. 

"I usually recommend parents start with the school. Schools are offering a lot of different tools, some of which will be effective, but some kids need more," Rohr said. 

"You can start with reaching out to the teacher directly... A lot of teachers are also offering opportunities to redo assignments because they recognize they have a huge gap to fill in. Start there, advocate for your student, but if the child is further behind than that and needs more individualized support, that's where Tutor Doctor can come in and really create that customized learning experience for them."

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