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District 20 hosts mental health Q&A to help parents navigate student grief amid school closures

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Academy District 20 is hosting a virtual Q&A session with mental health and education experts Thursday evening. It's to help parents navigate their students' feelings of grief and anxiety after Governor Jared Polis announced schools would not be re-opening this academic year.

David Galvan, director of "Education for a Lifetime," says if your student seems depressed or nervous as of late, it's completely normal.

"It's like watching a movie and not getting the last twenty minutes," said Galvan.

But just because those feelings are to be expected, doesn't mean parents know how to help students navigate their feelings.

One of the experts speaking at Thursday night's virtual Q&A is Dr. Mark A. Mayfield with Mayfield Counseling Services. He says he hopes to reiterate to parents the importance of patience.

"I think a lot of times as parents, we want to fix things," said Mayfield. "So we push kids through the grieving process quicker than they need to."

Mayfield says he also wants to stress the importance of utilizing mental health services as soon as you recognize a problem.

"This is where we really want to push that it's okay to ask for help," said Mayfield. "A lot of times we reach out for help when it's in crisis mode for counseling, and maybe we just need this to maintain."

With the possibility that e-learning may continue on into fall, Mayfield is encouraging parents to stick to a routine -- that includes having your kids get ready like they're going to school every morning -- and creating a space in the home specifically for school work.

But before that can happen - experts say parents must acknowledge their own anxieties and sadness about what is, and what's to come. 

"It can be very burdensome to be mom, dad, teacher…all within the confines of the home," said Mayfield.

Galvan also suggests parents grant themselves some forgiveness for where they may fall short while acclimating to the new normal of e-learning.

"We're not looking for perfection in parenting right now, we're looking for progress. Not perfection, but progress," said Galvan.

The virtual academy is happening from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The first 100 participants can join on Zoom and ask questions in real time.

There will also be a Facebook livestream where you can tune in to watch. Join the livestream here.

Colorado Springs / Education / Local News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

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