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As the province decides on a back-to-school plan for the fall, health experts are warning of the mental health risks of keeping kids out of the classroom.

Without the routine and social connection that school brings, many kids and teens have reported feeling sad, stressed and anxious since the pandemic cancelled in-person classes in mid-March, said Dr. Kiran Pure, a clinical psychologist in Dartmouth, N.S.

Even though public health restrictions have begun to lift, her small team of psychologists is still working “basically non-stop and it’s been a lot of mental health support.”

Pure said she’s been struck by the intensity of the mental health challenges some kids are experiencing, especially those with existing conditions.

“We’ve seen a lot of general anxiety, stress, withdrawn behaviour, apathy. A lot of kids sleeping in until … the afternoon because they feel like they have nothing to get up for,” she said.

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