Nearly two-thirds of parents say their child has recently experienced mental or emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts, according to a new national survey on student well-being during the pandemic.

Yet amid growing concern that the pandemic and its widespread disruptions to schools could have a devastating, long-lasting toll on students’ mental health, the new Jed Foundation survey offers some optimism.

While the survey offered critical insight into the challenges youth have experienced over the last year, it also pointed to a remarkable amount of resilience among young people. In fact, just a third of parents said their child’s emotional health is worse than it was before the COVID-19 outbreak. More than half of parents said their child’s mental health is the same as it was before the pandemic, and 16 percent said that it has actually improved.

“What we were expecting to see was something much more significant,” she said. “That really spurs for us an interest in studying further how this resilience develops and what methods these students have been using to keep themselves mentally afloat.”

The new data come amid a pitched debate about whether to reopen schools during the pandemic — a move the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed in places with low to moderate spread of COVID-19 so long as students wear masks and follow other public health recommendations. Preventing a potential uptick in youth suicide rates has also been pitched as a reason to reopen schools quickly.

Read the full article about students during the pandemic by Mark Keierleber at The 74.