With Western New York and the Country, in general, approaching the one-year mark of the pandemic social distancing, zoom calls, and virtual classrooms are taking a toll on mental health.

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“I’m seeing it as almost like a marathon where people are starting to hit the wall," said Dr. Wendy Weinstein, Psychiatrist and Unit Chief at BryLin Hospitals in Buffalo.

With many students being affected.

“A lot of parent calls, kids can’t get out of bed, not getting out of their rooms, not eating, not having good hygiene, failing classes," said Kelli Cookfair, LMSW, School Social Worker at Maryvale.

Maryvale middle and high schools, here in our area have teamed up with Compeer Buffalo to start focusing on students' mental health according to WKBW-TV.

"Helping students and families see there’s support, there are coping skills, there are different things that we can do to help us through those tough times because they’re not forever," said Cookfair.

Mentors meet with 27 students to work on mental health issues weekly and they’re already seeing success.

"They’ve got this great role model they’ve got friendships developing. Parents are relieved their kids aren’t going unnoticed this year," said Ashleigh Cieri, MSW, Director of Youth Services at Compeer Buffalo.

For parents that don’t have that in-school resource, Compeer offers FREE mental health first aid courses to help your students cope.

Courses consist of 8-hour virtual training sessions about helping adults or teens,  Compeer says to think of it as a CPR class for mental health.

We all can encounter mental health challenges on any given day at any point in our life, according to Compeer. There are resources out there to help you and there are ways we can help each other.

Quick changes you can make right now:

  • Getting up and going to bed earlier
  • Spending more time outside
  • Calling friends and family more and talking about how you feel,  or how they feel.
  • Take frequent breaks

To sign up for mental health first aid courses, click here.

The Crisis Services 24-hour hotline for Buffalo and Erie County is always available at (716) 834-3131.



Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

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