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Sunday, March 26, 2023
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Keep focus on COVID's impact on youth

Editorial: Keep focus on COVID’s impact on youth

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Last week’s Sun Gazette contained coverage updating Fairfax County officials on the state of mental health of the young people in the county and, by extrapolation, across Northern Virginia as a whole.

The data suggest that more and more students were reporting cases of depression and anxiety before the pandemic hit. Can anyone doubt that when the next round of these student surveys come out, the levels will be through the roof?

That impact should have been clear to Northern Virginia school officials when they went into a classroom lockdown in the spring of 2020 and kept the classes shuttered far too long. But the focus was so laser-like on hunkering down against COVID that there was little chance to hear voices calling for a more nuanced – dare we say “holistic”? – approach to addressing not only the pandemic, but the consequences of too narrow a response to it.

Sorry, kids – the adults blew it, and you’re paying the price.


One almost could excuse those in leadership posts for their errors in the early days of the pandemic, when little was known about, and few preventives and remedies were available for, COVID. These days, neither of those can be used as excuses, which makes the ongoing hysteria over every new variant, coupled with the fascist tendencies toward control among some in political-leadership posts, all the more infuriating to anyone who tries to bring common sense and balance to the overall discussion.

Of course, whether all leaders really want to support common sense and balance is itself open for debate among those who think not all conspiracy theories are far-fetched.

One can visualize some of these leaders salivating over the prospect of a nation in which mental-health professionals are as commonplace in schools as teachers are, and where all young people are constantly reminded they need the assistance of mental-health professionals merely to get through their days.

The net result: A new generation, including those with no mental-health challenges, unable and/or unwilling to think for itself. Scary, indeed.

Depression and anxiety in young people long have been increasing. Others can postulate why; we’ll keep our opinions to ourselves. But the constant barrage of public-health hysteria is no doubt sending some otherwise well-grounded youth into a mental-health spiral, and is having devastating consequences on those with pre-existing problems.

Could we all just calm down? The kids with thank us.

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